Biogeography and Metacommunity Structure of Intertidal Invertebrates in Puerto Rico

Document Type

Grant Proposal

Date Accepted

Spring 2009

Project Description/Abstract

Most ecological studies of marine biodiversity focus on factors that regulate diversity within a locality. However, communities often are linked by the movement of individuals among sites. Hence, our understanding of the factors that determine local biodiversity can be improved by applying a spatially explicit approach that recognizes the importance of interactions between communities. I propose to use such an approach, metacommunity analysis, to examine diversity and species composition of rocky shore communities throughout the coastline of Puerto Rico. Over two weeks in the summer of 2009, I will census invertebrates and collect data on environmental conditions at 14 sites. I will then use these data to determine whether patterns of species composition are more consistent with distinct, isolated communities or communities that are functionally linked. In addition, I will identify the environmental and biogeographic factors most strongly associated with changes in community structure and biodiversity on rocky shores.

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