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Variation in life-history patterns between intertidal and subtidal populations of the meiobenthic copepod Microarthridion littorale

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Life history patterns of the meiobenthic harpacticoid copepod Microarthridion littorale (Poppe) differed between intertidal and subtidal sites in a South Carolina, USA estuarine salt-marsh system. Throughout the summer and fall, densities of M. littorale were significantly greater intertidally than subtidally; however, for the remainder of the year the population sizes were not statistically different. Maximum densities occurred intertidally in July and subtidally in October. The number of eggs · gravid female-1 was significantly greater subtidally than intertidally at all times. The mean length of all adults increased from summer to spring and was similar between areas. Birth rates and death rates paralleled one another in each area and with the exception of August, birth rates were higher subtidally than intertidally. Juvenile mortality appeared highest subtidally, the mortality apparently occurring in the early naupliar stages. The variation in life history patterns across the tidal gradient was likely the result of differences in food quality and quantity, increased exposure to potential epibenthic predators subtidally, and to differential competitive pressure in the 2 areas.

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Communicated by J. M. Lawrence, Tampa

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Palmer, M.A. Variation in life-history patterns between intertidal and subtidal populations of the meiobenthic copepod Microarthridion littorale . Marine Biology 60, 159–165 (1980). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00389159

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  • Death Rate
  • Birth Rate
  • Population Size
  • Food Quality
  • Maximum Density