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Corpus Systématique Animale

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Effects of grazing by two species of sea urchins ( Strongylocentrotus franciscanus and Lytechinus anamesus ) on recruitment and survival of two species of kelp ( Macrocystis pyrifera and Pterygophora californica )

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Arthropodes_v2b_01730, Echinodermes_v2b_0333, Poissons_v2b_004667
  • T. A. Dean 1
  • S. C. Schroeter 2
  • J. D. Dixon 2
  • 1) Marine Science Institute, University of California at Santa Barbara, 93106, Santa Barbara, California, USA
  • 2) Department of Biological Sciences, University of Southern California, University Park, 90089, Los Angeles, California, USA

We studied the effects of grazing by two species of sea urchins on two species of kelp (Macrocystis pyrifera and Pterygophora californica) in the San Onofre kelp bed in southern California from 1978 through 1981. Both red sea urchins, Strongylocentrotus franciscanus, and white sea urchins, Lytechinus anamesus, were abundant and lived in aggregations. The purple sea urchin (S. purpuratus) was rare at the study site and was not studied. The aggregations of red urchins were either relatively small and stationary (for over 3 yr) or relatively large and motile (advancing at about 2 m mo?1). Both stationary and moving aggregations were observed at the same time, and within 100 m of one another. Stationary aggregations of red urchins probably subsisted mainly on drift kelp and had no effect on kelp recruitment or on adult kelp abundance. In contrast, red sea urchins in large, motile aggregations or “fronts” ate almost all the macroalgae in their path. The condition of their gonalds indicated that red urchins in fronts were starved relative to red urchins in the small, stationary aggregations. Large, motile aggregations developed after 2 yr of declining kelp abundance (probably due largely to storms). We propose that a scarcity of drift algae for food results in a change in the behavior pattern of the red urchins and thus leads to the formation of large, motile aggregations. The aggregations of white urchins, which occurred along the offshore margin of the kelp bed, were large, but relatively stationary. The white urchins rarely ate adult kelps, but grazed extensively on early developmental stages of kelps and evidently prevented seaward expansion of the bed. The spatial distribution of both types of red urchin aggregations appeared to be unrelated to predation pressure from fishes or lobsters.

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 - physiologie vegetale et developpement
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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  • Arthropodes
  • Echinodermes
  • Poissons
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