Inhabiting fauna in holdfasts of Lessonia nigrescens complex. Is it an indicator of ecological integrity in exploited kelp beds in northern Chile?

J.M. Alonso Vega Reyes


DOI: https://doi.org/10.3856/vol44-issue3-fulltext-21

Lessonia nigrescens complex holdfasts habitats are home to a wide diversity of invertebrates. The holdfasts associated fauna is sensitive to the kelp fishery in northern Chile because one of the management recommendation is to harvest the whole plant. Considering the above, and the ecological role play by brown algae as foundation species, this study proposes the use of fauna inhabiting the holdfasts as an ecological indicator to monitor the integrity of exploited kelp beds. To accomplish this objective, the morphology of plants and holdfasts was evaluated together with the composition, abundance and community structure associated in three types of resource conservation strategies based on fishery management spatially explicit: open access areas and management areas (to harvest), and marine protected areas (with no harvest), in Atacama and Coquimbo (26-32°S). The results show that high harvest pressure on exploited kelp beds transforms the plant morphology and holdfast, altering the colonization process and species aggregation predicted for these biogenic habitats modifying the expected biodiversity. Thus, associated fauna in open access areas has lower species richness, abundance and biodiversity of organisms than their counterparts in management areas or marine protected areas. Moreover, the structure of the holdfast associated communities, are more variables in open access areas. The results suggest that holdfasts are representative micro-ecosystems of the intertidal environment, and can be used as sampling replicable and comparable units to monitor exploited kelp beds integrity in fisheries open access areas. This ecological indicator is easy to evaluate and disseminate among users of the kelp productive chain.

Vega Reyes J. Inhabiting fauna in holdfasts of Lessonia nigrescens complex. Is it an indicator of ecological integrity in exploited kelp beds in northern Chile?. Lat. Am. J. Aquat. Res.. 2017;44(3): 623-637. Available from: doi:10.3856/vol44-issue3-fulltext-21 [Accessed 24 Apr. 2019].
Vega Reyes, J. (2017). Inhabiting fauna in holdfasts of Lessonia nigrescens complex. Is it an indicator of ecological integrity in exploited kelp beds in northern Chile?. Latin American Journal of Aquatic Research, 44(3), 623-637. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.3856/vol44-issue3-fulltext-21