Marine Biology

, Volume 86, Issue 2, pp 183–191 | Cite as

Competitive interactions between co-occurring herbivorous gastropods

  • W. J. Fletcher
  • R. G. Creese
Article

Abstract

The competitive interactions between two species of limpet, Patelloida alticostata (Angas), and Cellana tramoserica (Sowerby) were investigated at two sites; a low-lying intertidal platform and an adjacent subtidal reef located in southeastern Australia, during 1977 and 1982. C. tramoserica was relatively more abundant and larger in shell length than P. alticostata at the intertidal site, but P. alticostata was the more abundant species subtidaily. Fences were used to enclose various combinations of the two species to compare both intra- and inter-specific interactions. By repeating this design at two different, but adjacent sites, it was possible to test the generality of any interactions, and to investigate whether the nature of these could explain the observed differences in the relative abundances between the two sites. Intraspecific increases in density affected C. tramoserica more than P. alticostata at both sites. These effects were manifested both lethally (increased mortality at the intertidal site) and sublethally (as decreased growth and tissue weight at the subtidal site). Interspecific comparisons were asymmetrical, but were similar at both sites: C. tramoserica affected P. alticostata more than P. alticostata affected C. tramoserica. These latter effects were, however, only similar, or minor in comparison with the strong intraspecific effect that C. tramoserica had on itself. This suggests that, as has been found in some previous studies, competitive exclusion of the subordinate species (P. alticostata) is unlikely because of the greater intraspecific effects on the superior competitor (C. tramoserica). Furthermore, because there was little difference in the relative competitive abilities of the two species in the two habitats, competition between the species was probably not responsible for the different relative abundances between the two adjacent areas.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Literature cited

  1. Birch, L. C.: The meanings of competition. Am. Nat. 91, 5–18 (1957)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Birch, L. C.: The effect of species of animals who share common resources on one another's distribution and abundance. Fortschr. Zool. 25, 197–221 (1979)PubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. Black, R.: Population regulation in the intertidal limpet Patelloida alticostata (Angas, 1865). Oecologia 30, 9–22 (1977)Google Scholar
  4. Black, R.: Competition between intertidal limpets: an intrusive niche on a steep resource gradient. J. Anim. Ecol. 48, 401–411 (1979)Google Scholar
  5. Branch, G. M.: The biology of limpets: physical factors, energy flow and ecological interactions. Oceanogr. mar. Biol. A. Rev. 19, 235–380 (1981)Google Scholar
  6. Choat, J. H.: The influence of sessile organisms on the population biology of three species of acmaied limpets. J. exp. mar. Biol. Ecol. 26, 1–26 (1977)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Connell, J. H.: The influence of interspecific competition and other factors on the distribution of the barnacle Chthamalus stellatus. Ecology 42, 710–723 (1961)Google Scholar
  8. Connell, J. H.: Field experiments in marine ecology In: Experimental marine ecology, pp 27–54. Ed. by R. Mariscal. New York: Academic Press 1974Google Scholar
  9. Connell, J. H.: On the prevalence and relative importance of interspecific competition: evidence from field experiments. Am. Nat. 122, 661–691 (1983)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Connor, E. F. and D. Simberloff: Interspecific competition and species co-occurrence on islands-null models and the evaluation of the evidence Oikos 41, 455–464 (1983)Google Scholar
  11. Creese, R. G.: Ecology and reproductive biology of intertidal limpets, 381 pp. PhD thesis, University of Sydney 1978Google Scholar
  12. Creese, R. G.: An analysis of distribution and abundance of populations of the high-shore limpet, Notoacmaea petterdi (Tenison-Woods) Oecologia 45, 252–260 (1980)Google Scholar
  13. Crrese, R. G.: Distribution and abundance of the acmaied limpet Patelloida latistrigata and its interactions with barnacles. Oecologia 52, 85–96 (1982)Google Scholar
  14. Creese, R. G. and A. J. Underwood: Analysis of inter- and intraspecific competition amongst intertidal limpets with different methods of feeding. Oecologia 53, 337–346 (1982)Google Scholar
  15. Dayton, P. K.: Competition, disturbance, and community organisation: the provision and subsequent utilization of space in a rocky intertidal community. Ecol. Monogr. 41, 351–389 (1971)Google Scholar
  16. Diamond, J. M.: Niche shifts and the rediscovery of interspecific competition. Am. Scient. 66, 322–331 (1978)Google Scholar
  17. Fletcher, W. J.: Variability in the reproductive effort of the limpet, Cellana tramoserica. Oecologia 61, 259–264 (1984a)Google Scholar
  18. Fletcher, W. J.: Intraspecific variation in the population dynamics and growth of the limpet, Cellana tramoserica. Oecologia 63, 110–121 (1984b)Google Scholar
  19. Fletcher, W. J.: Experimental population ecology of sublittoral grazers in New South Wales, 163 pp. PhD thesis, University of Sydney 1984 cGoogle Scholar
  20. Gilpin, M. E. and J. M. Diamond: Factors contributing to nonrandomness in species co-occurrences on islands Oecologia 52, 75–84 (1982)Google Scholar
  21. Haven, S. B.: Competition for food between the intertidal gastropods Acmaea scabra and Acmaea digitalis. Ecology 54, 143–151 (1973)Google Scholar
  22. Lewis, J. R. and R. S. Bowman: Local habitat induced variations in population dynamics of Patella vulgata L. J. exp. mar. Biol. Ecol. 17, 165–203 (1975)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. MacArthur, R. H.: Population ecology of some warblers of northeastern coniferous forests. Ecology 39, 599–619 (1958)Google Scholar
  24. Mackay, D. A. and A. J. Underwood: Experimental studies on homing in the intertidal patellid limpet Cellana tramoserica (Sowerby). Oecologia 30, 215–238 (1977)Google Scholar
  25. Menge, B. A.: Competition for food between two intertidal starfish species and its effects on body size and feeding. Ecol. Monogr. 46, 355–393 (1972)Google Scholar
  26. Ortega, S.: Competitive interactions among tropical intertidal limpets. J. exp. mar. Biol. Ecol. (In press)Google Scholar
  27. Pielou, E. C.: Mathematical ecology, rev. ed. 285 pp. New York: Wiley Interscience 1967Google Scholar
  28. Schoener, T. W.: Field experiments on interspecific competition. Am. Nat. 122, 240–285 (1983)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Stimson, J.: Territorial behaviour of the owl limpet Lottia gigantea. Ecology 51, 113–118 (1970)Google Scholar
  30. Stimson, J.: The role of territory in the ecology of the intertidal limpet Lottia gigantea (Gray). Ecology 54, 1020–1030 (1973)Google Scholar
  31. Stimson, J. and R. Black: Field experiments on population regulation in intertidal limpets of the genus Acmaea. Oecologia 18, 111–120 (1975)Google Scholar
  32. Sutherland, J. P.: Dynamics of high and low shore populations of the limpet Acmaea scabra (Gould). Ecol. Monogr. 40, 169–188 (1970)Google Scholar
  33. Underwood, A. J.: Intertidal zonation of prosobranch gastropods: analysis of densities of 4 co-existing species. J. exp. mar. Biol. Ecol. 19, 197–216 (1975)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Underwood, A. J.: An experimental analysis of competition between three species of intertidal prosobranch gastropods. Oecologia 33, 185–202 (1978)Google Scholar
  35. Underwood, A. J.: The biology of gastropods. Adv. mar. Biol. 16, 111–210 (1979)Google Scholar
  36. Underwood, A. J.: The effects of grazing by gastropods and physical factors on the upper limits of distribution of intertidal algae. Oecologia 46, 201–213 (1980)Google Scholar
  37. Underwood, A. J.: Vertical and seasonal patterns in competition for microalgae between intertidal gastropods. Oecologia 64, 211–222 (1984)Google Scholar
  38. Underwood, A. J.: The analysis of competition by field experiments. In: Community ecology: patterns and processes. Ed. by D. J. Anderson and J. Kikkawa. Melbourne: Blackwell Scientific Publishers (In press). 1985Google Scholar
  39. Underwood, A. J. and P. Jernakoff: Effects of interactions between algae and grazing gastropods on the structure of a low shore intertidal algal community. Oecologia 48, 221–233 (1981)Google Scholar
  40. Winer, B. J.: Statistical principles in experimental design, 2nd ed. 907 pp. Tokyo: McGraw-Hill 1971Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1985

Authors and Affiliations

  • W. J. Fletcher
    • 1
  • R. G. Creese
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Biological SciencesUniversity of SydneySydneyAustralia
  2. 2.Marine LaboratoryUniversity of AucklandR. D. LeighNew Zealand

Personalised recommendations