This study aimed to determine the mechanisms behind changes in cover at spill-disturbed sites that were dramatic and synchronous across all quadrats at a site. This study examined two possible mechanisms that could generate synchronous fluctuations at spill disturbed sites; 1) plant-herbivore coupling, in which limpet or snail grazing would reduce Fucus populations; or 2) a single cohort of Fucus recruiting soon following the spill that monopolised for several years before declining synchronously.
Site Selection Criteria:
Rocky mid-intertidal sites were chosen for accessibility and comparability in the semi protected rocky habitat type.
Cause Of Decline:
On 24 March 1989, the tanker T/V Exxon Valdez spilled 36000 Mg of oil, which eventually contacted 10–20% of shoreline in Prince William Sound, Alaska. After this event, adult Fucus gardneri, an intertidal brown algae, were coated with oil but did not necessarily die. Part of the clean-up effort involved washing shorelines with large volumes of high-pressure hot seawater (60C) to lift oil off the shore. This treatment caused 90% mortality of adult Fucus and probably scalded much of the rock surface, killing any remaining germlings as well. Intertidal invertebrates, some of which consume Fucus, also disappeared.
Long-term signal of disturbance: Fucus gardneri after the Exxon Valdez oil spill
Ecological Applications, Vol. 11.https://doi.org/10.2307/3061118