Journal of Chemical Ecology

, Volume 19, Issue 3, pp 517–530 | Cite as

Allelochemical inhibition of recruitment in a sedimentary assemblage

  • Sarah A. Woodin
  • Roberta L. Marinelli
  • David E. Lincoln


Chemical signals affect recruitment of organisms in many habitats. Most of the described biogenic chemical moieties in marine environments elicit specific positive responses, for example, of predators to prey or of conspecific larvae to suitable habitats. However, organisms also release noxious chemicals that may elicit negative responses from neighboring members of the assemblage. Herein we measured the effect on recruitment of the release of such compounds (halogenated aromatics) into sediments. The common, sediment-dwelling, terebellid polychaeteThelepus crispus contains brominated aromatic metabolites and contaminates the sediments surrounding its tube with these compounds. Sediments so contaminated are actively rejected by recruitingNereis vexillosa (Nereidae: Polychaeta). Interestingly, many of these noxious biogenic compounds have low solubility in water and, therefore, potentially long residence times in sedimentary environments. The negative response of larvae to sediment contaminated with them is a novel, potentially common, and very important mechanism in which sediment-dwelling organisms release haloaromatic compounds and thus impose a recruitment filter on their community.

Key Words

Infauna polychaete halogenated aromatic recruitment allelochemical negative cue sediments Thelepus Nereis allelopathy 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sarah A. Woodin
    • 1
    • 2
  • Roberta L. Marinelli
    • 2
  • David E. Lincoln
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Biological SciencesUniversity of South CarolinaColumbia
  2. 2.Marine Science ProgramUniversity of South CarolinaColumbia
  3. 3.Department of OceanographyDalhousie UniversityHalifaxCanada

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