|Feeding preference of Strongylocentrotus droebachiensis (Echinoidea) for a dominant native ascidian, Aplidium glabrum, relative to the invasive ascidian Botrylloides violaceus|
|Simoncini, M.; Miller, R.J. (2007). Feeding preference of Strongylocentrotus droebachiensis (Echinoidea) for a dominant native ascidian, Aplidium glabrum, relative to the invasive ascidian Botrylloides violaceus. J. Exp. Mar. Biol. Ecol. 342(1): 93-98|
|In: Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology. Elsevier: Amsterdam. ISSN 0022-0981, more|
Aplidium glabrum (Verrill, 1871) [WoRMS]; Botrylloides violaceus Oka, 1927 [WoRMS]; Strongylocentrotus droebachiensis (O.F. Müller, 1776) [WoRMS]; Marine
Subtidal benthic communities show distinct patterns of community structure related to substrate angle. Suspension-feeding invertebrate communities often dominate vertical and undercut rock surfaces, while macroalgae dominate horizontal surfaces. One factor that may shape this pattern is sea urchin grazing, which is often more intense on horizontal surfaces. The native Gulf of Maine ascidian Aplidium glabrum, like other native ascidians, is generally restricted to vertical and undercut rock walls, whereas the introduced ascidian Botrylloides violaceous is often abundant on horizontal surfaces. We tested the hypothesis that this pattern could be due to differing predation intensity on these two ascidians by Strongylocentrotus droebachiensis, a dominant omnivore in the Gulf of Maine. Feeding preference of S. droebachiensis on the native A. glabrum vs. B. violaceous was estimated in the laboratory and in field experiments. Laboratory results show that S. droebachiensis prefers to feed on the native ascidian A. glabrum over B. violaceous. In the field, potential differences in the impact of S. droebachiensis on the two species were masked by the much greater growth rate of B. violaceus compared to A. glabrum. These results may help explain observed patterns in ascidian distribution in the Gulf of Maine, and ultimately the overall success of B. violaceus as a major invader throughout New England.