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Ecology of two littoral species of caprellid amphipods (Crustacea) from Washington, USA

Abstract

Ecology of 2 littoral species of caprellid amphipods is compared. Populations of Caprella laeviuscula, a periphyton scraper/filter-feeder, are most dense on eelgrass Zostera marina L. In the absence of C. laeviuscula, periphyton biomass increases 411% in protected Z. marina beds. The light absorption spectra of periphyton and Z. marina are similar, and C. laeviuscula, by its periphyton removal, may allow Z. marina to grow in areas where it would otherwise be excluded. C. laeviuscula is aggressively dominant over sympatric caprellids, and seasonal predators of C. laeviuscula are absent during winter, the period when periphyton would be most limiting to Z. marina. Populations of Deutella californica, a predator, are most dense on the hydroid Obelia dichotoma (L.). In the O. dichotoma epibiotic community, D. californica is the primary predator, but removal did not change the composition of the community structure. In the absence of other macropredators, the structure of the O. dichotoma epibiotic community depends more on the seasonality of O. dichotoma occurrence than on organismal interactions.

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Communicated by I. Morris, West Boothbay Harbor

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Caine, E.A. Ecology of two littoral species of caprellid amphipods (Crustacea) from Washington, USA. Mar. Biol. 56, 327–335 (1980). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00386871

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Keywords

  • Biomass
  • Absorption Spectrum
  • Community Structure
  • Light Absorption
  • Hydroid