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Littoral Marine Communities

G. E. MacGinitie
The American Midland Naturalist
Vol. 21, No. 1 (Jan., 1939), pp. 28-55
DOI: 10.2307/2420374
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2420374
Page Count: 28
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Littoral Marine Communities
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Abstract

1. Clearer, more uniform, and simpler definitions are needed in ecology. 2. Marine animal communities are anything but static affairs. 3. Variation is the most important principle in ecology, and should be emphasized rather than made subordinant. Animals can not be pigeonholed under unit factors. 4. No apparatus yet used is sufficiently efficient to provide a complete picture of ocean bottom communities. 5. Free-living animals migrate greater distances on smooth bottom than on rocky shores. 6. Sand beaches provide habitat for burrowers only. 7. Sand beaches are rich in food because of the plankton destroyed in the breakers and because of the green algae and bacteria growing on the moist sand between tides. 8. Marine communities are subject to change through cataclasm, migration, old age, and larval settling chance. 9. Dominance, while apparent in some rocky shore communities, fades out into insignificance in estuarine and ocean bottoms unless smaller regions are used, and even then it is necessary to separate the surface from the burrowing forms. If these two things are done, it minimizes the importance of environment. 10. Using the locality, rather than the generic names of animals, for naming a community is recommended, for dominants show so much variation that generically named communities lack uniformity. Dominants may be dominant in entirely different communities, and their use to name a community may cause the worker to make very small community areas. 11. Background on the part of the worker is shown to be more important than in any other branch of biology. 12. Individual life histories of members of the community are absolutely necessary to a fuller understanding of the sociology of marine animal communities. Every animal is a part of the environment of every other animal in the community, and therefore, is a part of the environment of the community.

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