Importance of Predation by Infaunal Polychaetes in Controlling the Structure of a Soft-Bottom Community in Maine, USA

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Department 1

Environmental Studies


Field manipulations in a Maine, USA intertidal mud flat showed that Nereis virens adults were an important factor in regulating the abundance of Corophium volutator, an amphipod which comprised 63% of the total number of individuals in the benthic community. Removal of N. virens adults resulted in an increase in C. volutator abundance, while addition of N. virens adults led to a decrease. There was a significant negative correlation between the abundance of N. virens adults and that of C. volutator. C. volutator was also negatively correlated with the density of all the other infaunal species combined. These results suggest that there is at least a 3-level interactive system (N. virens —C. volutator — other infaunal species) within the infauna in Maine; N. virens is a factor in controlling the abundance of C. volutator, and C. volutator may play a role in regulating the densities of other infaunal species. Models of generalized “cropping” in soft-bottom systems may be too simple if they ignore complex trophic relationships within the infauna.


Original version is available from the publisher at: http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2FBF00393144



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