Springer Nature is making SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 research free. View research | View latest news | Sign up for updates

Population dynamics of three estuarine meiobenthic harpacticoids (Copepoda) in South Carolina

  • 62 Accesses

  • 15 Citations

Abstract

To elucidate the population dynamics of abundant meiofauna, a 15-month field study of 3 species of harpacticoid copepods was conducted in a South Carolina (USA) estuary. Per capita birth and death rates and average brood size (number of eggs per adult female) were lowest for Enhydrosoma propinguum (Brady), Microarthridion littorale (Poppe), and Stenhelia (Delavalia) bifidia (Coull) from November–February, indicating that food or density-independent factors such as temperature regulated winter densities. Reproduction for all species began in February, with the first appearance of copepodites approximately 1 month later. From March–October, M. littorale displayed high per capita birth and death rates (>0.6 individual-1 day-1), and high average brood size (8 to 9 eggs per adult female). As this species is epibenthic, and thus susceptible to grazing by detritivores, these data suggest that M. littorale was limited by predation. S. (Delavalia) bifidia displayed a sharp increase in density, birth rate and average brood size in July, but birth and death rates (≈0.3 individual-1 day-1) were always lower than those of M. littorale and average brood size gradually decreased from July–December. As this species burrows and is less susceptible to grazing predation, these data are consistent with the hypothesis that S. (Delavalia) bifidia became food-limited as population growth approached its carrying capacity. Although E. propinguum was the most abundant species, quantification of birth potential was not accomplished due to an underestimate of the number of ovigerous females. Therefore, little can be concluded about the mechanism of the summer density regulation of E. propinguum.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

Literature Cited

  1. Allan, J.D.: Competition and the relative abundance of two cladocerans. Ecology 54, 484–498 (1973)

  2. Barnett, P.R.O.: The life cycles of two species of Platychelipus Brady (Harpacticoidea) on an intertidal mudflat. Int. Revue ges. Hydrobiol. 55, 169–195 (1970)

  3. Bell, S.S. and B.C. Coull: Field evidence that shrimp predation regulates meiofauna. Oecologia (Berl.) 35, 141–148 (1978)

  4. Bresciani, J.: Some features of the larval development of Stenhelia (Delavalia) palustris Brady, 1868 (Copepoda, Harpacticoida). Vidensk. Meddr dansk. naturh. Foren. 123, 237–247 (1960)

  5. Coull, B.C.: Estuarine meiofauna: a review: trophic relationships and microbial interactions. In: Estuarine microbial ecology, pp 499–512. Ed. by L. Stevenson and R.R. Colwell. Columbia: University of South Carolina Press 1973

  6. — and W.B. Vernberg: Reproductive periodicity of meiobenthic copepods: seasonal or continuous? Mar. Biol. 32, 289–293 (1975)

  7. Crisp, D.J.: Energy flow measurements. In: Methods for the study of marine benthos, pp 197–279. Ed. by N.A. Holme and A.D. McIntyre. Oxford: Blackwell Scientific Publications 1971

  8. Elmgren, R.: Baltic benthos communities and the role of the meiofauna. Contrib. Askö Lab., Univ. Stockholm 14, 1–31 (1976)

  9. Feller, R.J. and V.W. Kaczynski: Size selective predation by juvenile chum salmon (Oncorhynchus keta) on epibenthic prey in Puget Sound. J. Fish. Res. Bd Can. 32, 1419–1429 (1975)

  10. Fleeger, J.W.: Population dynamics and community structure of an estuarine, meiobenthic copepod assemblage, 79 pp. Ph.D. thesis, University of South Carolina, Columbia 1977

  11. Gehrs, C.W. and A. Robertson: Use of life tables in analyzing the dynamics of copepod populations. Ecology 56, 665–672 (1975)

  12. Gerlach, S.A.: On the importance of marine meiofauna for benthos communities. Oecologia (Berl.) 6, 176–190 (1971)

  13. Grassle, J.F. and H.L. Sanders: Life histories and the role of disturbance. Deep-Sea Res. 20, 643–659 (1973)

  14. Gurney, R.: British fresh-water Copepoda. Vol. II. London: Ray Society 1932

  15. Hall, D.J.: An experimental approach to the dynamics of a natural population of Daphnia galeata mendotae. Ecology 45, 94–112 (1964)

  16. Hall, J.R., and R.R. Hessler: Aspects of the population dynamics of Derocheilocaris typica (Mystacocarida, Crustacea). Vie Milieu 12, 305–326 (1971)

  17. Heip, C.: The life cycle of Cyprideis torosa (Crustacea, Ostracoda). Oecologia (Berl.) 24, 229–245 (1976)

  18. — and N. Smol: On the importance of Protohydra leuchkarti as a predator of meiobenthic populations. In: Proceedings of the Tenth European Marine Biology Symposium, Wetteren, Belgium: Universa Press 1976a

  19. —— Influence of temperature on the reproductive potential of two brackish-water harpacticoids (Crustacea: Copepoda). Mar. Biol. 35, 327–334 (1976b)

  20. Heron, A.C.: Population ecology of a colonizing species: the pelagic tunicate Thalia democratica II. Population growth rate. Oecologia (Berl.) 10, 294–312 (1972)

  21. Lang, K.: Monographie der Harpacticiden, 1682 pp. Lund: Hakan Ohlsson 1948

  22. Lasker, R., J.B.J. Wells and A.D. McIntyre: Growth, reproduction, respiration and carbon utilization of the sand-dwelling harpacticoid copepod, Asellopsis intermedia. J. mar. biol. Ass. U.K. 50, 147–160 (1970)

  23. Marcotte, B.: The ecology of meiobenthic harpacticoids (Crustacea: Copepoda) in West Lawrencetown, Nova Scotia. 212 pp. Ph.D. thesis. Dalhousie University, Halifax 1977

  24. McIntyre, A.D.: Ecology of marine meiobenthos. Biol. Rev. 44, 245–290 (1969)

  25. — Control factors on meiofauna populations. Thalassia jugosl. 7, 209–215 (1971)

  26. Mertz, D.B.: Notes on the methods used in lifehistory studies. In: Readings in ecology and ecological genetics, pp 4–17. Ed. by J.H. Connell, D.B. Mertz and W.W. Murdoch, New York: Harper & Row 1970

  27. Miller, D.C.: The feeding mechanism of fiddler crabs, with ecological considerations on feeding adaptations. Zoologica, N.Y. 46, 89–100 (1961)

  28. Pollock, L.W.: Ecology of intertidal meiobenthos. Smithson. Contr. Zool. 76, 141–148 (1971)

  29. Sellner, B.W.: Survival and metabolism of the harpacticoid copepod Thompsonula hyaenae (Thompson) fed on different diatoms. Hydrobiologia 50, 233–238 (1976)

  30. Sibert, J., T.J. Brown, M.C. Healy, B.A. Kask and R.S. Naiman: Detritus-based food webs: exploitation by juvenile chum salmon (Oncorhynchus keta). Science, N.Y. 196, 649–650 (1977)

  31. Sikora, W.B.: The ecology of Paleomonetes pugio in a Southern salt marsh ecosystem, with particular emphasis on production and trophic relationships, 115 pp. Ph.D. thesis, University of South Carolina, Columbia 1977

  32. Slobodkin, L.B.: Population dynamics in Daphnia obtusa Kruz. Ecol. Monogr. 24, 69–88 (1954)

  33. Stross, R.G., J.C. Nees and A.D. Hasler: Turnover and production of the planktonic Crustacea in limed and reference portion of a bog lake. Ecology 42, 237–244 (1961)

  34. Thiel, H., D. Thistle and G.D. Wilson: Ultrasonic treatment of sediment samples for more efficient sorting of meiofauna. Limnol. Oceanogr. 20, 472–473 (1975)

  35. Van Dolah, R.F., L.E. Shapiro and C.P. Rees: Analysis of an intertidal population of the amphipod Gammarus palustris using a modified version of the egg-ratio method. Mar. Biol. 33, 323–330 (1975)

  36. Vernberg, W.B. and B.C. Coull: Multiple factor effects of environmental parameters on the physiology, ecology and distribution of some marine meiofauna. Cah. Biol. mar. 16, 721–732 (1975)

Download references

Author information

Additional information

Contribution No. 274 from the Belle W. Baruch Institute for Marine Biology and Coastal Research, University of South Carolina.

Communicated by J.M. Lawrence, Tampa

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Fleeger, J.W. Population dynamics of three estuarine meiobenthic harpacticoids (Copepoda) in South Carolina. Marine Biology 52, 147–156 (1979). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00390422

Download citation

Keywords

  • Population Dynamic
  • Adult Female
  • Abundant Species
  • Density Regulation
  • Meiofauna