The effect of predation by blue crabs and fishes on all species of infaunal macrobenthos of a subtidal sandy bottom in the York River, Virginia, was investigated by manipulative field experiments. Wire mesh cages were used both to exclude all large predators from and to confine different predators to small areas of the natural bottom. After 2 months, many species showed significant differences between the various treatments. There were similar patterns of species responses in three separate years. Species tended to fit one of two categories. Those species which had tough tubes, which lived deep in the sediment, or which could quickly retract deep into the sediment were shown experimentally not to change much in abundance regardless of whether predators were excluded or included. These species were generally the numerical dominants in the natural community—e.g.Peloscolex gabriellae, Heteromastus filiformis, Spiochaetopterus oculatus, andPhoronis psammophila. Other species which lived near the surface or exposed on the surface responded to experimentally altered predation intensity with large changes in density. These species were either uncommon or only sporadically abundant in the natural community—e.g.Polydora ligni, Streblospio benedicti, Mulinia lateralis, andLyonsia hyalina. This evidence indicates that the abundant species in the natural community are abundant because they avoid predators.
- 1 - sciences appliquees, technologies et medecines
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- 3 - sciences biologiques fondamentales et appliquees. psychologie
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- 1 - Physical Sciences ; 2 - Environmental Science ; 3 - General Environmental Science
- 1 - Life Sciences ; 2 - Agricultural and Biological Sciences ; 3 - Aquatic Science
- 1 - Physical Sciences ; 2 - Environmental Science ; 3 - Environmental Chemistry