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Ann Rev Mar Sci. 2010;2:89-114.

Marine ecomechanics.

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1
Hopkins Marine Station, Stanford University, Pacific Grove, California 93950, USA. mwdenny@stanford.edu

Abstract

The emerging field of marine ecomechanics provides an explicit physical framework for exploring interactions among marine organisms and between these organisms and their environments. It exhibits particular utility through its construction of predictive, mechanistic models, a number of which address responses to changing climatic conditions. Examples include predictions of (a) the change in relative abundance of corals as a function of colony morphology, ocean acidity, and storm intensity; (b) the rate of disturbance and patch formation in beds of mussels, a competitive dominant on many intertidal shores; (c) the dispersal and recruitment patterns of giant kelps, an important nearshore foundation species; (d) the effects of turbulence on external fertilization, a widespread method of reproduction in the sea; and (e) the long-term incidence of extreme ecological events. These diverse examples emphasize the breadth of marine ecomechanics. Indeed, its principles can be applied to any ecological system.

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