Temperate rocky reefs may occur in two alternative states (coralline barrens and erect algal forests), whose formation and maintenance are often determined by sea urchin grazing. The two sea urchin species Paracentrotus lividus and Arbacia lixula are considered to play a similar ecological role despite their differing morphological traits and diets. The patchy mosaic areas of Ustica Island, Italy, offer an ideal environment in which to study differences in the performance of P. lividus and A. lixula in barren versus forest states. Results show that the two sea urchin species differ in diet, trophic position, grazing adaptation, movement ability and fitness in both barren and forest patches. We confirmed herbivory in P. lividus and omnivory with a strong tendency to carnivory in A. lixula. When the sea urchin escape response to a predator was triggered, P. lividus responded faster in barren and forest patches. Forest patch restricted movement, especially in A. lixula (velocity in barren approximate to 10-fold greater than in forest). A large Aristotle's lantern, indicative of durophagy, confirmed adaptation of A. lixula to barren state. (C) 2012 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Functional traits of two co-occurring sea urchins across a barren/forest patch system

Agnetta D;
2013

Abstract

Temperate rocky reefs may occur in two alternative states (coralline barrens and erect algal forests), whose formation and maintenance are often determined by sea urchin grazing. The two sea urchin species Paracentrotus lividus and Arbacia lixula are considered to play a similar ecological role despite their differing morphological traits and diets. The patchy mosaic areas of Ustica Island, Italy, offer an ideal environment in which to study differences in the performance of P. lividus and A. lixula in barren versus forest states. Results show that the two sea urchin species differ in diet, trophic position, grazing adaptation, movement ability and fitness in both barren and forest patches. We confirmed herbivory in P. lividus and omnivory with a strong tendency to carnivory in A. lixula. When the sea urchin escape response to a predator was triggered, P. lividus responded faster in barren and forest patches. Forest patch restricted movement, especially in A. lixula (velocity in barren approximate to 10-fold greater than in forest). A large Aristotle's lantern, indicative of durophagy, confirmed adaptation of A. lixula to barren state. (C) 2012 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/20.500.14083/1488
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