FCE LTER Journal Articles


Spatiotemporal variation of the abundance of calcareous green macroalgae in the Florida Keys: A study of synchrony within a macroalgal functional-form group


The abundance of calcareous green algae was recorded quarterly at 28 sites within the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary (FKNMS) for a period of 7 years as part of a sea grass monitoring program. To evaluate the validity of using the functional-form group approach, we designed a sampling method that included the functional-form group and the component genera. This strategy enabled us to analyze the spatiotemporal patterns in the abundance of calcareous green algae as a group and to describe synchronous behavior among its genera through the application of a nonlinear regression model to both categories of data. Spatial analyses revealed that, in general, all genera displayed long-term trends of increasing abundance at most sites; however, at some sites the long-term trends for genera opposed one another. Strong synchrony in the timing of seasonal changes was found among all genera, possibly reflecting similar reproductive and seasonal growth pattern, but the variability in the magnitude of seasonal changes was very high among genera and sites. No spatial patterns were found in long-term or seasonal changes; the only significant relation detected was for slope, with sites closer to land showing higher values, suggesting that some factors associated with land proximity are affecting this increase. We conclude that the abundances of genera behaved differently from the functional-form group, indicating that the use of the functionalform group approach may be unsuitable to detect changes in sea grass community structure in the FKNMS at the existing temporal and spatial scale of the monitoring program.


This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation through the Florida Coastal Everglades Long-Term Ecological Research program under Cooperative Agreements #DBI-0620409 and #DEB-9910514. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in the material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.

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