It’s what’s inside that counts: computer-aided tomography for evaluating the rate and extent of wood consumption by shipworms
Experiments were done to investigate in situ colonization of pine wood blocks by marine wood borers at the mouth of a small mountain river in the foothills of the Eastern Pyrenees. Standardized blocks were recovered after remaining underwater for increasingly long durations, until the available resource was exhausted by the shipworms assemblage that developed. Computer-aided tomography (CT) was used for visualizing and quantifying biogenic structures into the wooden blocks. The biodiversity survey of the wood pieces colonized indicated that up to three species of shipworms shared the resource at the same time. The specific wood consumption rate of Nototeredo norvagica was estimated 185 mm3 ind−1 day−1. The quantification of voids created by shipworm crowding indicated that total tunnelling represents, on average, 60% of the initial volume of a wood block, revising upward earlier estimates of wood destruction by 28%. CT analysis provides the quantitative measurements necessary to parameterize individual-based growth models linking wood consumption with the species diversity of shipworm assemblages.
KeywordsWood destruction Coarse woody debris Teredinidae CT scan Modelling
F. Charles expressly thanks Dr. Michel Gras for the organization and Mr. Régis Truillet for the realization of CT examinations of the wood blocks at the St. Pierre Clinic in Perpignan. We are also grateful to Joseph Garrigue, curator of the Réserve Naturelle Nationale de la Forêt de la Massane for sharing his expert knowledge of the river. This work was supported by the EC2CO (Écosphère Continentale et Côtière) national program of the CNRS-INSU, as part of the DRIL (Dynamique et Réactivité des Interfaces Littorales) topics, under the title: De la forêt à la Mer: Transfert et recyclage du bois mort sur la marge continentale méditerranéenne. JC-G was supported by the “Laboratoire d’Excellence” LabexMER (ANR-10-LABX-19) and co-funded by a Grant from the French government under the program “Investissements d’Avenir”.
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