Marine Biology

, Volume 94, Issue 2, pp 219–229 | Cite as

Crustacean epifauna of seagrass and macroalgae in Apalachee Bay, Florida, USA

  • F. G. LewisIII


Epifaunal crustaceans on turtlegrass (Thalassia testudinum) and five dominant macroalgae (Anadyomene stellata, Digenia simplex, Halimeda incrassata, Laurencia poitei and Penicillus lamourouxii) were quantitatively sampled bimonthly over a one-year period from September 1979 to September 1980 in a subtropical seagrass meadow in Apalachee Bay, Florida (northeastern Gulf of Mexico). These plant species exhibited a wide range of morphologies, with surface area-to-biomass ratios differing by over 2.5 times. A similar suite of crustaceans occurred on all macrophytes despite differences in shape or architecture among plant species. Relative abundances of many crustaceans, however, varied among plant hosts. Similarity analysis indicated that the epifaunal associates of T. testudinum were distinct from those of the macroalgae. Species richness was generally higher on turtlegrass than on any of the macroalgae. Abundances of total crustaceans per plant biomass or per plant surface area, on the other hand, were greater on all macroalgal species compared to the seagrass. Abundances (per plant biomass or plant surface area) of 14 of the 16 numerically dominant epifaunal species differed significantly among macrophytes. Twelve of the 16 species had greater abundance on one or more macroalgae, while only two species were more abundant on T. testudinum. Almost half of the dominant species had greatest abundances on the branching red alga L. poitei. Although abundances per plant biomass and plant surface area were greater on macroalgae relative to turtlegrass, densities (individuals per meter square of bottom) of animals associated with T. testudinum were significantly greater than those associated with macroalgae, primarily because of the greater abundance of turtlegrass in the grass bed. Both surface area-to-biomass ratios and degree of branching were poorly correlated with epifaunal abundance and number of species. Neither structural feature is an adequate predictor of faunal abundance and species richness among plant species, especially when macrophytes with very different morphologies are compared.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Literature cited

  1. Benz, M. C., N. J. Eiseman and E. E. Gallaher: Seasonal occurrence and variation in standing crop of a drift algal community in the Indian River, Florida. Bot. mar. 22, 413–420 (1979)Google Scholar
  2. Brawley, S. H. and W. H. Adey: The effect of micrograzers on algal community structure in a coral reef microcosm. Mar. Biol. 61, 167–177 (1981)Google Scholar
  3. Chapman, G.: Aspects of the fauna and flora of the Azores. VI. The density of animal life in the coralline alga zone. Ann. Mag. nat. Hist. 95, 801–805 (1955)Google Scholar
  4. Clements, W. H. and R. J. Livingston: Prey selectivity of the fringed filefish Monacanthus ciliatus (Pisces: Monacanthidae): role of prey accessibility. Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser. 16, 291–295 (1984)Google Scholar
  5. Coen, L. D., K. L. Heck, Jr. and L. G. Abele: Experiments on competition and predation among shrimps of seagrass meadows. Ecology 62, 1484–1493 (1981)Google Scholar
  6. Colman, J.: On the faunas inhabiting intertidal seaweeds. J. mar. biol. Ass. U.K. 24, 129–183 (1940)Google Scholar
  7. Connell, J. H.: Territorial behavior and dispersion in some marine invertebrates. Res. Popul Ecol. 5, 87–101 (1963)Google Scholar
  8. Cowper, S. W.: The drift algae community of seagrass beds in Redfish Bay, Texas. Contr. mar. Sci., Univ. Texas 21, 125–132 (1978)Google Scholar
  9. Dahl, A. L.: Surface area in ecological analysis: quantification of benthic coral-reef algae. Mar. Biol. 23, 239–249 (1973)Google Scholar
  10. Dawes, C. J.: Marine algae of the west coast of Florida, 201 pp. Coral Gables, Florida: University of Miami Press 1974Google Scholar
  11. Dommasnes, A.: Variation in the meiofauna of Corallina officinalis L. with wave exposure. Sarsia 34, 117–124 (1968)Google Scholar
  12. Dooley, J. K.: Fishes associated with the pelagic Sargassum complex, with a discussion of the Sargassum community. Contr. mar. Sci., Univ. Texas 16, 1–32 (1972)Google Scholar
  13. Edgar, G. J.: The ecology of south-east Tasmanian phytal animal communities. I. Spatial organization on a local scale. J. exp. mar. Biol. Ecol. 70, 129–157 (1983a)Google Scholar
  14. Edgar, G. J.: The ecology of south-east Tasmanian phytal animal communities. II. Seasonal change in plant and animal populations. J. exp. mar. Biol. Ecol. 70, 159–179 (1983b)Google Scholar
  15. Edgar, G. J.: The ecology of south-east Tasmanian phytal animal communities III. Patterns of species diversity. J. exp. mar. Biol. Ecol. 70, 181–203 (1983c)Google Scholar
  16. Edwards, A.: Ecological studies of the kelp, Laminaria hyperborea, and its associated fauna in southwest Ireland. Ophelia 19, 47–60 (1980)Google Scholar
  17. Fenwick, G. D.: The effect of wave exposure on the amphipod fauna of the alga Caulerpa brownii. J. exp. mar. Biol. Ecol. 25, 1–18 (1976)Google Scholar
  18. Fine, M. L.: Faunal variation on pelagic Sargassum. Mar. Biol. 7, 112–122 (1970)Google Scholar
  19. Fletcher, W. J. and R. W. Day: The distribution of epifauna on Ecklonia radiata (C. Agardh) J. Agardh and the effect of disturbance. J. exp. mar. Biol. Ecol. 71, 205–220 (1983)Google Scholar
  20. Gore, R. H., E. E. Gallaher, L. E. Scotto and K. A. Wilson: Studies on decapod Crustacea from the Indian River region of Florida. XI. Community composition, structure, biomass and speciesarea relationships of seagrass and drift algae-associated macrocrustaceans. Estuar. cstl Shelf Sci 12, 485–508 (1981)Google Scholar
  21. Greening, H. S. and R. J. Livingston: Diel variation in the structure of seagrass-associated epibenthic macroinvertebrate communities. Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser. 7, 147–157 (1982)Google Scholar
  22. Gunnill, F. C.: Effects of plant size and distribution on the numbers of invertebrate species and individuals inhabiting the brown alga Pelvetia fastigiata. Mar. Biol. 69, 263–280 (1982a)Google Scholar
  23. Gunnill, F. C.: Macroalgae as habitat patch islands for Scutellidium lamellipes (Copepoda: Harpacticoida) and Ampithoe tea (Amphipoda: Gammaridae). Mar. Biol. 69, 103–116 (1982b)Google Scholar
  24. Gunnill, F. C.: Seasonal variations in the invertebrate faunas of Pelvetia fastigiata (Fucaceae): effects of plant size and distribution. Mar. Biol. 73, 115–130 (1983)Google Scholar
  25. Hagerman, L.: The macro-microfauna associated with Fucus serratus L., with some ecological remarks. Ophelia 3, 1–43 (1966)Google Scholar
  26. Hagerman, L.: The life-cycle of three species of algal-living ostracods from brackish water. Ophelia 17, 231–237 (1978)Google Scholar
  27. Harrod, J. J. and R. E. Hall: A method for determining the surface areas of various aquatic plants. Hydrobiologia 20, 173–178 (1962)Google Scholar
  28. Heck, K. L., Jr.: Some determinants of the composition and abundance of motile macroinvertebrate species in tropical and temperate turtlegrass (Thalassia testudinum) meadows. J. Biogeogr. 6, 183–200 (1979)Google Scholar
  29. Heck, K. L., Jr. and R. J. Orth: Seagrass habitats: the role of habitat complexity, competition and predation in structuring associated fish and motile macroinvertebrate assemblages. In: Estuarine perspectives, pp 449–464. Ed. by V. S. Kennedy. New York: Academic Press 1980Google Scholar
  30. Heck, K. L., Jr. and T. A. Thoman: Experiments on predator-prey interactions in vegetated aquatic habitats. J. exp. mar. Biol. Ecol. 53, 125–134 (1981)Google Scholar
  31. Heck, K. L., Jr., G. van Belle and D. S. Simberloff: Explicit calculation of the rarefaction diversity measurement and the determination of sufficient sample size. Ecology 56, 1159–1161 (1975)Google Scholar
  32. Heck, K. L., Jr. and G. S. Wetstone: Habitat complexity and invertebrate species richness and abundance in tropical seagrass meadows. J. Biogeogr. 4, 135–142 (1977)Google Scholar
  33. Hooks, T. A., K. L. Heck, Jr. and R. J. Livingston: An inshore marine invertebrate community: structure and habitat associations in the northeastern Gulf of Mexico. Bull. mar. Sci. 26, 99–109 (1976)Google Scholar
  34. Hicks, G. R. F.: Species composition and zoogeography of marine phytal harpacticoid copepods from Cook Strait, and their contribution to total phytal meiofauna. N. Z. J. mar. freshwat. Res. 11, 441–469 (1977a)Google Scholar
  35. Hicks, G. R. F.: Species associations and seasonal population densities of marine phytal harpacticoid copepods from Cook Strait. N. Z. J. mar. freshwat. Res. 11 621–643 (1977b)Google Scholar
  36. Hicks, G. R. F.: Structure of phytal harpacticoid copepod assemblages and the influence of habitat complexity and turbidity. J. exp. mar. Biol. Ecol. 44, 157–192 (1980)Google Scholar
  37. Johnson, R. G.: Variations in diversity with benthic marine communities. Am. Nat. 104, 285–300 (1970)Google Scholar
  38. Kikuchi, T. and J. M. Pérès: Animal communities in the seagrass beds: a review. In: Seagrass ecosystems: a scientific perspective. Ed. by C. P. McRoy and C. Helferrich. New York: Marcel Dekker 1977Google Scholar
  39. Kulzycki, G. R., R. W. Virnstein and W. G. Nelson: The relationship between fish abundance and algal biomass in a seagrassdrift algae community. Estuar. cstl Shelf Sci. 12, 341–347 (1981)Google Scholar
  40. Lance, G. N. and W. T. Williams: A general theory of classificatory sorting strategies. I. Hierarchical systems. Comput. J. 9, 373–380 (1967)Google Scholar
  41. Leber, K. M., III.: Feeding ecology of decapod crustaceans and the influence of vegetation on foraging success in a subtropical seagrass meadow, 161 pp. Ph. D. dissertation. Tallahassee, Florida; Florida State University 1983Google Scholar
  42. Leber, K. M.: The influence of predatory decapods, refuge, and microhabitat selection on seagrass communities. Ecology 66, 1951–1964 (1985)Google Scholar
  43. Lewis, F. G., III.: Habitat complexity in a subtropical seagrass meadow: the effects of macrophytes on species composition and abundance in benthic crustacean assemblages, 151 pp. Ph. D. dissertation. Tallahassee, Florida; Florida State University 1982Google Scholar
  44. Lewis, F. G., III.: Distribution of macrobenthic crustaceans associated with Thalassia, Halodule and bare sand substrata. Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser. 19, 101–113 (1984)Google Scholar
  45. Lewis, F. G., III and A. W. Stoner: An examination of methods for sampling macrobenthos in seagrass meadows. Bull. mar. Sci. 31, 116–124 (1981)Google Scholar
  46. Lewis, F. G., III and A. W. Stoner: Distribution of macrofauna within seagrass beds: an explanation for patterns of abundance. Bull. mar. Sci. 33, 296–304 (1983)Google Scholar
  47. Livingston, R. J.: Impact of kraft pulp mill effluents on estuarine and coastal fishes in Apalachee Bay, Florida. Mar. Biol. 32, 19–48 (1975)Google Scholar
  48. Livingston, R. J.: Trophic response of fishes to habitat variability in coastal seagrass systems. Ecology 65, 1258–1275 (1984)Google Scholar
  49. Livingston, R. J., R. S. Lloyd and M. S. Zimmerman: Determination of sampling strategy for benthic macrophytes in polluted and unpolluted coastal areas. Bull. mar. Sci. 26, 569–575 (1976)Google Scholar
  50. Moore, P. G.: The larger Crustacea associated with holdfasts of kelp (Laminaria hyperborea) in northeast Britain. Cah. Biol. mar. 14, 493–518 (1973)Google Scholar
  51. Moore, P. G.: Turbidity and kelp holdfast Amphipoda: I. Wales and S. W. England. J. exp. mar. Biol. Ecol. 32, 53–96 (1978)Google Scholar
  52. Mukai, H.: The phytal animals on the thalli of Sargassum serratifolium in the Sargassum region, with reference to their seasonal fluctuations. Mar. Biol. 8, 170–182 (1971)Google Scholar
  53. Norton, T. A.: An ecological study of the fauna inhabiting the sublittoral marine alga Saccorhiza polyschides (Lightf.) Bott. Hydrobiologia 37, 215–231 (1971)Google Scholar
  54. Orth, R. J.: The importance of sediment stability in seagrass communities. In: Ecology of marine benthos, pp 281–300. Ed. by B. C. Coull. Columbia, South Carolina University of South Carolina Press 1977Google Scholar
  55. Orth, R. J., K. L. Heck, Jr. and J. van Montfrans: Faunal communities in seagrass beds: a review of the influence of plant structure and prey characteristics on predator-prey relationships. Estuaries 7, 339–350 (1984)Google Scholar
  56. Santos, S. L. and J. L. Simon: Distribution and abundance of the polychaetous annelids in a south Florida estuary. Bull. mar. Sci. 24, 669–689 (1974)Google Scholar
  57. Simberloff, D. S.: Use of rarefaction and related methods in ecology. In: Biological data in water pollution assessment: quantitative and statistical analyses, pp 150–165. Ed by K. L. Dickson, J. Cairns, Jr. and R. J. Livingston. Philadelphia: American Society for Testing and Materials 1978Google Scholar
  58. Sloane, J. F., R. Bassindale, E. Davenport, F. J. Ebling and J. A. Kitching: The ecology of Lough Ine. IX. The flora and fauna associated with undergrowth-forming algae in the Rapids area. J. Ecol. 49, 353–368 (1961)Google Scholar
  59. Stoner, A. W.: Species-specific predation on amphipod Crustacea by the pinfish Lagodon rhomboides: mediation by macrophyte standing crop. Mar. Biol. 55, 201–207 (1979)Google Scholar
  60. Stoner, A. W.: The role of seagrass biomass in the organization of benthic macrofaunal assemblages. Bull. mar. Sci. 30, 537–551 (1980a)Google Scholar
  61. Stoner, A. W.: Perception and choice of substratum by epifaunal amphipods associated with seagrasses. Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser. 3, 105–111 (1980b)Google Scholar
  62. Stoner, A. W.: The influence of benthic macrophytes on the foraging behavior of pinfish, Lagodon rhomboides (Linnaeus). J. exp. mar. Biol. Ecol. 58, 271–284 (1982)Google Scholar
  63. Stoner, A. W.: Distributional ecology of amphipods and tanaidaceans associated with three sea grass species. J. Crust. Biol. 3, 505–518 (1983)Google Scholar
  64. Stoner, A. W.: Penicillus capitatus: an algal island for macrocrustaceans. Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser. 26, 279–287 (1985)Google Scholar
  65. Stoner, A. W. and R. J. Livingston: Distributional ecology and food habits of the banded blenny, Paraclinus fasciatus (Clinidae): a resident in a mobile habitat. Mar. Biol. 56, 239–246 (1980)Google Scholar
  66. Tararam, A. S. and Y. Wakabara: The mobile fauna — especially Gammaridea — of Sargassum cymosum. Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser. 5, 157–163 (1981)Google Scholar
  67. Taylor, W. R.: Marine algae of the eastern tropical and subtropical coasts of the Americas, 870 pp. Ann Arbor, Michigan: The University of Michigan Press 1960Google Scholar
  68. Thorhaug, A. and M. A. Roessler: Seagrass community dynamics in a subtropical estuarine lagoon. Aquaculture 12, 253–277 (1977)Google Scholar
  69. Truchot, J. P.: Étude faunistique et ecologique des Amphipodes des faunes rocheaux intertidaux de Roscoff. Cah. Biol. mar. 4, 121–176 (1963)Google Scholar
  70. van Belle, G. and I. Ahmad: Measuring affinity of distribution. In: Reliability and biometry: statistical analysis of lifelength, pp 651–668. Ed. by F. Proschan and R. J. Serfling. Philadelphia: S.I.A.M. 1974Google Scholar
  71. Virnstein, R. W., P. S. Mikkelsen, K. D. Cairns and M. A. Capone: Seagrass beds versus sand bottoms: the trophic importance of their associated invertebrates. Florida Sci. 46, 363–381 (1983)Google Scholar
  72. Wakabara, Y., A. S. Tararam and A. M. Takeda: Comparative study of the amphipod fauna living on Sargassum of two Itanhaém shores, Brazil. J. Crust. Biol. 3, 602–607 (1983)Google Scholar
  73. Warmke, G. L. and L. R. Almodovar: Some associations of marine mollusks and algae in Puerto Rico. Malacologia 1, 163–177 (1963)Google Scholar
  74. Weis, J. S.: Fauna associated with pelagic Sargassum in the Gulf stream. Am Midl. Nat. 80, 554–558 (1968)Google Scholar
  75. Wieser, W.: Investigations on the microfauna inhabiting seaweeds on rocky coasts. IV. Studies on the vertical distribution of the fauna inhabiting seaweeds below the Plymouth laboratory. J. mar. biol. Ass. U.K. 31, 145–174 (1952)Google Scholar
  76. Zimmerman, M. S. and R. J. Livingston: The effects of kraft-mill effluents on benthic macrophyte assemblages in a shallow bay system (Apalachee Bay, North Florida, USA). Mar. Biol. 34, 297–312 (1976)Google Scholar
  77. Zimmerman, M. S. and R. J. Livingston: Dominance and distribution of benthic macrophyte assemblages in a north Florida estuary (Apalachee Bay, Florida). Bull. mar. Sci. 29, 27–40 (1979)Google Scholar
  78. Zimmerman, R., R. Gibson and J. Harrington: Herbivory and detritivory among gammaridean amphipods from a Florida seagrass community. Mar. Biol. 54, 41–47 (1979)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • F. G. LewisIII
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Biological SciencesFlorida State UniversityTallahasseeUSA
  2. 2.Department of Environmental RegulationOffice of Coastal ManagementTallahasseeUSA

Personalised recommendations