, Volume 680, Issue 1, pp 125–133 | Cite as

Importance of seagrass vegetation for habitat partitioning between closely related species, mobile macrofauna Neomysis (Misidacea)

  • Katsumasa YamadaEmail author
  • Naoki H. Kumagai
Primary Research Paper


Seagrass meadows provide both habitats and a range of food sources for macrofaunal communities. These functions facilitate the coexistence of less mobile invertebrates (in comparison with mysids, such as amphipods) that are associated with seagrass leaves, and may also enhance the coexistence of highly mobile invertebrates such as mysid. We investigated the function of seagrass in supporting the coexistence of two mysid species, Neomysis awatschensis and N. mirabilis. These taxa are dominant in seagrass ecosystems of temperate coastal areas. We compared patterns of habitat use between the two species at mesoscales (among seagrass patches) and microscales (among seagrass leaves) by performing field surveys and laboratory experiments. The field survey results showed positive correlations in the abundance of the two mysid species, indicating that both species select similar habitats at the mesoscale level. In the laboratory experiments, the pattern of microhabitat selection (fundamental habitat) was similar for both species, even at increased densities and with the presence of an immobile habitat-competitor (the gastropod Barleeia angustata) on the leaves. However, this pattern changed significantly when a food source (epiphytic microalgae) was present on the leaves. This result indicates that (i) inter- and intraspecific interference competition does not affect microhabitat selection in these two mysids and (ii) both Neomysis species use similar habitats at the feeding stage. Although these two closely related mysids species may have similar requirements for microhabitat and food, the evidence that they did not act as competitors is attributable to unrestricted microhabitat and food (e.g., epiphytic algae) in the presence of seagrass vegetation.


Niche overlap Habitat partitioning Behavior Assembly Mysid Neomysis Seagrass Multinomial logit model 



The authors gratefully thank H. Mukai, C. Aryuthaka, J. Kuo, N. Hasegawa, M. Nakaoka, M. Hori, Y. Tanaka, M. Hamaguchi, M. L. W. Sasil-orbita, K. Fukaya, Y. Fukaya (Tkeuchi), T. Matsuo, K. Kikuo, K. Hasegawa (Nakamura), S. Hamano, H. Katsuragawa, T. Takano, and members of Akkeshi Marine Station (Hokkaido University) helped with data collections, experiments and analysis. A part of this research was financially supported by a Grant-in-Aid by Akkeshi Town for Scientific Research of Lake Akkeshi and Bekanbeushi Wetland, and the Sasagawa Scientific Research Grant from the Japan Science Society to KY.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Science, Tokyo Bay Ecosystem Research CenterToho UniversityFunabashiJapan
  2. 2.National Institute for Environmental StudiesTsukubaJapan
  3. 3.Tropical Biosphere Research CenterUniversity of the RyukyuMotobu, OkinawaJapan

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