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Corpus Systématique Animale

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Experimental evaluations of substrate types as barriers to sea urchin ( Strongylocentrotus spp.) movement

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Springer (journals)
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  • D. R. Laur 1
  • A. W. Ebeling 1
  • D. C. Reed 1
  • 1) Department of Biological Sciences and Marine Science Institute, University of California at Santa Barbara, 93106, Santa Barbara, California, USA

Descriptive evidence that sandy surfaces and rock ledges inhibit progress of grazing sea urchins prompted an experimental investigation of physical obstacles to urchin movement in a subtidal area of reef and kelp off southern California in 1980. In laboratory experiments, we found that both red (Strongylocentrotus franciscanus) and purple (S. purpuratus) urchins can negotiate sand using their oral spines, although purple urchins are slower and more hesitant to do so. In field experiments, we observed the fates of starved red urchins transported to replicate plots within stands of sand-or rock-based understory kelp (Pterygophora californica). Urchins in rock plots retreated to nearby crevices from where they ate attached kelp. After finding kelp blades, urchins soon disappeared from sand plots because individuals in small groups may have difficulty holding and eating attached kelps on unconsolidated surfaces. In another experiment, red and purple urchins reached kelp on a rock ledge by mounting an artificial ramp. We conclude that by using their tube feet, individuals of both species move best over flat, hard surfaces, although soft substrate may constitute a major barrier only to purple urchins. In the absence of effective predator control, urchins can surmount most sand or rock barriers when water motion subsides. Hence, their ability to coordinate spine movements to negotiate soft substrates may be an adaptation to invade kelp refuges during quiet periods if preferred drift food is unavailable.

Catégories Science-Metrix
  • 1 - natural sciences
  • 2 - biology
  • 3 - marine biology & hydrobiology
Catégories INIST
  • 1 - sciences appliquees, technologies et medecines
  • 2 - sciences biologiques et medicales
  • 3 - sciences biologiques fondamentales et appliquees. psychologie
  • 4 - ethologie animale
Catégories Scopus
  • 1 - Physical Sciences ; 2 - Environmental Science ; 3 - Ecology
  • 1 - Life Sciences ; 2 - Agricultural and Biological Sciences ; 3 - Aquatic Science
  • 1 - Life Sciences ; 2 - Agricultural and Biological Sciences ; 3 - Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
Catégories WoS
  • 1 - science ; 2 - marine & freshwater biology
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Marine Biology

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  • Echinodermes
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