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Recolonization of the intertidal and shallow subtidal community following the 2008 eruption of Alaska’s Kasatochi Volcano

Biogeosciences Discussions

By:
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DOI: 10.5194/bgd-11-3799-2014

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Abstract

The intertidal and nearshore benthic communities of Kasatochi Island are described following a catastrophic volcanic eruption in 2008. Prior to the eruption, the island was surrounded by a dense bed of canopy-forming dragon kelp Eualaria fistulosa which supported a productive nearshore community. The eruption extended the coastline of the island approximately 400 m offshore to roughly the 20 m isobath. One year following the eruption a reconnaissance survey found the intertidal zone devoid of life. Subtidally, the canopy kelp, as well as limited understory algal species and associated benthic fauna on the hard substratum, were buried by debris from the eruption. The resulting substrate was comprised almost entirely of medium and coarse sands with a depauperate benthic community. Comparisons of habitat and biological communities with other nearby Aleutian Islands and the Icelandic submarine volcanic eruption of Surtsey confirm dramatic reductions in flora and fauna consistent with the initial stages of recovery from a large-scale disturbance event. Four and five years following the eruption brief visits revealed dramatic intertidal and subtidal recolonization of the flora and fauna in some areas. Signs of nesting and fledging of young pigeon guillemots Cepphus columba suggest that the recovery of the nearshore biota may have begun affecting higher trophic levels. Recolonization or lack thereof was tied to bathymetric changes from coastal and nearshore erosion over the study period.

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Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Article
Publication Subtype:
Journal Article
Title:
Recolonization of the intertidal and shallow subtidal community following the 2008 eruption of Alaska’s Kasatochi Volcano
Series title:
Biogeosciences Discussions
DOI:
10.5194/bgd-11-3799-2014
Volume
11
Year Published:
2014
Language:
English
Publisher:
Copernicus Publications
Contributing office(s):
Alaska Science Center Biology MFEB
Description:
38 p.
Larger Work Type:
Article
Larger Work Subtype:
Journal Article
Larger Work Title:
Biogeosciences Discussions
First page:
3799
Last page:
3836
Country:
United States
State:
Alaska