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Data accompanying Layton et al. 2019, Resilience and stability of kelp forests: the importance of patch dynamics and environment-engineer feedbacks. PLOS ONE. To explore how resilience and stability of kelp habitats is influenced by this habitat degradation, we created an array of patch reefs of various sizes and supporting adult Ecklonia radiata kelp transplanted at different densities. This enabled testing of how sub-canopy abiotic conditions change with reductions in patch size and adult kelp density, and how this influenced demographic processes of microscopic and macroscopic juvenile kelp.
Data describing post-recruit (adult) fish assemblages and the abundance of recruiting cryptobenthic species associated with 28 artificial reefs of different sizes and supporting different densities of transplanted kelp (Ecklonia radiata) off the west coast of Maria island. Adult assemblages were assessed using diver-based visual surveys conducted at three times (early: spring 2015, middle: autumn: 2016, late: spring 2016). At each time, 2 surveys were conducted, and the results were averaged. Recruiting cryptobenthic fishes were assessed using SMURF (standard Monitoring Units for the Recruitment of Fishes) collectors that were deployed for a six-week period in the centre of each reef on four consecutive occasions (November 2015 to March 2016).