Earthquake-Caused Coastal Uplift and Its Effects on Rocky Intertidal Kelp Communities

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Science  21 Oct 1988:
Vol. 242, Issue 4877, pp. 440-443
DOI: 10.1126/science.242.4877.440


The coastal uplift(approximately 40 to 60 centimeters) associated with the Chilean earthquake of 3 March 1985 caused extensive mortality of intertidal organisms at the Estación Costera de Investigaciones Marinas, Las Cruces. The kelp belt of the laminarian Lessonia nigrescens was particularly affected. Most of the primary space liberated at the upper border of this belt was invaded by species of barnacles, which showed an opportunistic colonization strategy. Drastic modifications in the environment such as coastal uplift, subsidence, or the effects of the El Niño phenomenon are characteristic of the southern Pacific. Modifications in the marine ecosystem that generate catastrophic and widespread mortalities of intertidal organisms can affect species composition, diversity, or local biogeography.

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