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Marine hard bottoms feature some of the most spectacular and diverse biological communities on this planet. These not only contain a rich treasure of genetic, taxonomic and functional information but also deliver irreplaceable ecosystem services. At the same time, they are highly vulnerable and increasingly threatened by anthropogenic pressures. This volume has collected contributions by 50 scientists from numerous biogeographic regions, dealing with characteristics of hard bottom communities. Distributional patterns in space and time are described, followed by analyses of the intrinsic and extrinsic dynamics producing these patterns.
A strong emphasis is placed on the ongoing changes occurring in the structure and diversity of these communities in response to spiralling environmental impacts, and on state-of-the-art countermeasures aiming to preserve these ecological treasures. Finally, various values of diversity are assessed, hopefully as an incentive for enhanced conservation efforts.
Part I Habitat, substrata and communities 1. Aquatic particularities and functional groups 2. Communities on different shallow substrata 3. Communities on deep-sea hard bottoms 4. Communities on living substrata: epibioses Part II Diversity patterns and their causes 5. Latitudinal patterns of species richness in hard bottom communities 6. Regional scale patterns 7. Patterns along environmental gradients 8. Evolutionary patterns of diversity and their causes 9. Environmental variability: analysis and ecological implications Part III Community Dynamics 10. Fertilization strategies 11. Larval supply and dispersal 12. Settlement and recruitment 13. Seasonal dynamics 14. Disruption, succession and stochasticity 15. Changes in diversity and ecosystem functioning during succession 16. Simple and complex interactions Part IV Changing Biodiversity 17. Anthropogenic changes in patterns of diversity on hard substrata: an overview 18. Shifts in abiotic variables and consequences for diversity 19. The loss of natural habitats and the addition of artificial substrata 20. Multiple stressors & disturbances: when change is not the nature of things 21. Mass mortalities and Extinctions 22. Biological Invasions: Insights from marine benthic communities 23. Habitat distribution and heterogeneity in marine invasion dynamics: The importance of hard substrate and artificial structure 24. Rehabilitation of habitat and the value of artificial reefs 25. Protection of biota and the value of marine protected areas Part V Value of Diversity 26. The role of biodiversity for the functioning of rocky reef communities 27. Functional and taxonomic perspectives of marine biodiversity: functional diversity and ecosystem processes 28. Mechanisms underpinning diversity-stability relationships in hard bottom assemblages 29. The aesthetic value of littoral hard substrata and consideration of ethical frameworks for their investigation and conservation Part VI Appropriate research methods 30. Field methods in marine ecology
From the reviews: "The volume is divided into six parts and 30 chapters. The chapters, written by eminent scholars in the field, are well referenced and easy to read. ! The book is an invaluable resource for scientists, resource managers, policy makers and students ! . A thoroughly enjoyable read. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Upper-division undergraduate through professional collections." (A. K. Volety, Choice, Vol. 47 (6), February, 2010)