, Volume 147, Issue 1, pp 134–140 | Cite as

Marine reserves demonstrate trophic interactions across habitats

  • Timothy J. LangloisEmail author
  • Marti J. Anderson
  • Russell C. Babcock
  • Shin Kato
Community Ecology


Several infaunal bivalve taxa show patterns of decreased biomass in areas with higher densities of adjacent reef-associated predators (the snapper, Pagrus auratus and rock lobster, Jasus edwardsii). A caging experiment was used to test the hypothesis that patterns observed were caused by predation, using plots seeded with a known initial density of the bivalve Dosinia subrosea to estimate survivorship. The caging experiment was replicated at several sites inside and outside two highly protected marine reserves: predators are significantly more abundant inside these reserves. Survivorship in fully caged, partially caged and open plots were then compared at sites having either low (non reserve) or high (reserve) predator density. The highest rates of survivorship of the bivalve were found in caged plots inside reserves and in all treatments outside reserves. However, inside reserves, open and partially caged treatments exhibited low survivorship. It was possible to specifically attribute much of this mortality to predation by large rock lobsters, due to distinctive marks on the valves of dead D. subrosea. This suggests that predation by large rock lobster could indeed account for the distributional patterns previously documented for certain bivalve populations. Our results illustrate that protection afforded by marine reserves is necessary to investigate how depletion through fishing pressure can change the role of upper-level predators and trophic processes between habitats.


Cages Bivalves Predation Jasus Dosinia 



This research was supported by a scholarship to T. J. Langlois from the Education Committee, States of Jersey, Channel Islands, UK and funds from the University of Auckland. We thank Bill Ballantine and Geordie Murman for ideas and suggestions. We also thank Taylor Heyl, Russell Millar, Simon Thrush, and one anonymous reviewer for their comments on a previous version of the manuscript. The supplementary video was filmed by Michelle Brock.

Supplementary material

442_2005_148_MOESM1_ESM.wmv (6.3 mb)
Supplementary material


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Timothy J. Langlois
    • 1
    Email author
  • Marti J. Anderson
    • 2
  • Russell C. Babcock
    • 3
  • Shin Kato
    • 4
  1. 1.Leigh Marine LaboratoryUniversity of AucklandWarkworthNew Zealand
  2. 2.Department of StatisticsUniversity of AucklandAucklandNew Zealand
  3. 3.CSIRO Marine Research FloreatWembleyAustralia
  4. 4.Jinbe-kanKochiJapan

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