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Life Between Tide-Marks in North America: II. Northern Florida and the Carolinas

T. A. Stephenson and Anne Stephenson
Journal of Ecology
Vol. 40, No. 1 (Feb., 1952), pp. 1-49
DOI: 10.2307/2258019
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2258019
Page Count: 57
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Life Between Tide-Marks in North America: II. Northern Florida and the Carolinas
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Abstract

An account is given of the distribution of algae and animals on rocky substrata between tide-marks in three districts situated on the Atlantic coast of North America between Cape Canaveral in Florida and Cape Hatteras in North Carolina. The population of this region (the Carolinian province of some taxonomists) is very distinct from the tropical biota of southern Florida, as described in the first paper of this series. It is neither a tropical nor a subtropical population, but is best described as a warm-temperate one, in the sense that it inhabits coastal waters with a minimal winter temperature (average for the coldest month) commonly near 9-14⚬ C. (less often falling to 5.5⚬ C.) and a maximal summer temperature (average for the warmest month) of the order of 26-29⚬ C.;* and that, while lacking any substantial representation of the most stenothermic tropical species or of the most stenothermic cold-water species, it possesses a number of eurythermic tropical and eurythermic cold-water species, as well as more or less cosmopolitan forms and species with a mid-Atlantic-coast distribution, the whole series adapted to warm-temperature conditions rather than to definitely warm or cold ones; its affinity is, also, more with the warm waters than with the cold. There is some change of personnel from south to north on the 600-mile stretch of coast in question, and there is also marked seasonal variation, with a strengthening of the southern element in summer and of the northern in winter. The zonation between tide-marks, on rocky substrata, shows common features throughout the region, despite local variations. The widespread zones of the world (T. A. & A. Stephenson, 1949) are clearly recognizable. The supralittoral fringe is normal in its possession of Myxophycean blackening and a population of Ligia, subnormal in the marked reduction of its Littorina population. The midlittoral zone is typically developed, well supplied with barnacles, and shows a tripartite structure throughout the region (p. 45). The infralittoral fringe is weakly marked in the southern part of the area, well marked and richly populated farther north (Beaufort district), and shows throughout the type of population which is characteristic for warm-temperate regions. An interesting feature of the coast is the apparent lack of common open-rock limpets in its northern part, though Siphonaria is present in quantity in the southern part.

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