Predatory nature of the littoral amphipod Echinogammarus marinus: gut content analysis and effects of alternative food and substrate heterogeneity

J.T.A. Dick, Mark Johnson, Donal McCambridge, J. Johnson, V.E.E. Carson, D.W. Kelly, C. MacNeil

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

28 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Interspecific interactions are major structuring forces in marine littoral communities; however, it is unclear which of these interactions are exhibited by many key-component species. Gut content analysis showed that the ubiquitous rocky/cobble shore amphipod Echinogammarus marinas, often ascribed as a mesograzer, consumes both algae and macroinvertebrates. Further, laboratory experiments showed that E. marinus is an active predator of such macroinvertebrates, killing and consuming the isopod Jaera nordmanni and the oligochaete Tubificoides benedii. Predatory impacts of E. marinus were not alleviated by the presence of alternative food in the form of alga discs. However, in the presence of prey, consumption of alga by E. marinus was significantly reduced. Further, survival of prey was significantly higher when substrate was provided, but predation remained significant and did not decline with further increases in substrate heterogeneity. We conclude that such amphipods can have pervasive predatory impacts on a range of species, with implications for community structure, diversity and functioning.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)151-158
Number of pages8
JournalMARINE ECOLOGY-PROGRESS SERIES
Volume291
Publication statusPublished - 28 Apr 2005

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aquatic Science
  • Ecology

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