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Interactions between two closely related phytal harpacticoid copepods, asymmetric positive and negative effects
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Zoology.
2007 (English)In: Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology, ISSN 0022-0981, E-ISSN 1879-1697, Vol. 341, no 2, 219-227 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Competition for food is generally thought to exert a strong evolutionary pressure, driving trophic niche separation, either by specialization and/or by widening the choice of potential food resources. Harpacticoid copepods are common inhabitants of phytal assemblages, where several closely related species of the so-called phytal dwelling families often co-occur. However, direct competition among phytal harpacticoids has been thought to be unlikely, due to the abundant and continuously available food supplies. We conducted a series of field and laboratory studies to assess the role of competition in the abundance distribution of two closely related harpacticoid species, Mesochra rapiens and M. aestuari. We found that the abundance of both species co-varied on several seaweed species in the northern Baltic Sea, during a 3-month period. Stable isotope ratios in the green alga Cladophora glomerata field samples indicated different resource utilization of the two species, both in fresh and deteriorated C. glomerata, and in drifting algae. We tested in the laboratory if resource utilization was different between the species in sympatry and allopatry. We used enriched stable carbon isotope ratios (C-13/C-12) of the diatom Phaeodactylum tricornutum to trace the uptake in both species. Results from these experiments showed a much higher assimilation by M. aestuari in sympatry with M. rapiens, while the latter species showed a higher assimilation in allopatry. Our results show that while there is no apparent competition for resources between these two species in the field, there seems to be an asymmetric reaction when in sympatry and provided one single resource in the laboratory. We suggest that M. rapiens may facilitate assimilation by M. acstuari and discuss the mechanisms by which this may take place.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2007. Vol. 341, no 2, 219-227 p.
Keyword [en]
competition, facilitation, faecal pellets, harpacticoids, indirect effects, M. aestuari, M. rapiens
National Category
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-57099DOI: 10.1016/j.jembe.2006.10.032ISI: 000244237300007OAI: diva2:415720
authorCount :3Available from: 2011-05-09 Created: 2011-05-03 Last updated: 2011-05-09Bibliographically approved

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