Benthic assemblages of rock pools in northern Portugal: seasonal and between-pool variability


  • Iacopo Bertocci CIIMAR/CIMAR, Centro Interdisciplinar de Investigação Marinha e Ambiental
  • Rita Araújo CIIMAR/CIMAR, Centro Interdisciplinar de Investigação Marinha e Ambiental
  • Mónica Incera Centro Tecnológico del Mar – Fundación CETMAR
  • Francisco Arenas CIIMAR/CIMAR, Centro Interdisciplinar de Investigação Marinha e Ambiental
  • Rui Pereira CIIMAR/CIMAR, Centro Interdisciplinar de Investigação Marinha e Ambiental
  • Helena Abreu CIIMAR/CIMAR, Centro Interdisciplinar de Investigação Marinha e Ambiental - Daithi O’Murchu Marine Research Station
  • Kim Larsen CIIMAR/CIMAR, Centro Interdisciplinar de Investigação Marinha e Ambiental
  • Isabel Sousa-Pinto CIIMAR/CIMAR, Centro Interdisciplinar de Investigação Marinha e Ambiental - Department of Biology, Faculty of Sciences, University of Porto



rock pools, rocky intertidal, seasonal variability, benthos, Sabellaria alveolata, Portugal


We investigated the seasonal (winter vs summer and within season) and spatial (between-pool) variability of benthic assemblages of rock pools at mid-intertidal level along the shore of Viana do Castelo (North Portugal). Physical traits of rock pools, including size, depth and position along the shore, were also compared between pools. While pools did not differ for any of the examined physical traits, results indicated a clear seasonal difference in the structure of assemblages, including a total of 49 macroalgal and 13 animal taxa. This finding was driven by six taxa that are more abundant in winter (the reef-forming polychaete Sabellaria alveolata, the articulated coralline algae Corallina spp., the brown alga Bifurcaria bifurcata, the encrusting coralline alga Lithophyllum incrustans, the red alga Chondracanthus acicularis and the grazing snails Gibbula spp.) and four algal taxa that are more abundant in summer (the invasive brown Sargassum muticum, the green Ulva spp., the kelp Laminaria ochroleuca and the filamentous red Ceramium spp.). These data provide a new contribution to the knowledge of rock pool systems and have potential implications for monitoring programmes aimed at assessing ecological modifications related to natural and anthropogenic disturbances and for identifying processes responsible for the variability of rock pool assemblages.


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How to Cite

Bertocci I, Araújo R, Incera M, Arenas F, Pereira R, Abreu H, Larsen K, Sousa-Pinto I. Benthic assemblages of rock pools in northern Portugal: seasonal and between-pool variability. Sci. mar. [Internet]. 2012Dec.30 [cited 2024Jul.24];76(4):781-9. Available from: