|Factors controlling juvenile growth and population structure of the starfish Asterias rubens in intertidal habitats: field and experimental approaches|
|Guillou, M.; Joly-Turquin, G.; Leyzour, S.; Pernet, P.; Dubois, P. (2012). Factors controlling juvenile growth and population structure of the starfish Asterias rubens in intertidal habitats: field and experimental approaches. J. Mar. Biol. Ass. U.K. 92(2): 367-378. dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0025315411001020|
|In: Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom. Cambridge University Press/Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom: Plymouth. ISSN 0025-3154, more|
Asterias rubens Linnaeus, 1758 [WoRMS]; Marine
Asterias rubens; juveniles; growth; food; salinity; emersion; temperature
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The dynamics of intertidal populations of the starfish Asterias rubens, living in contrasted habitats and over a broad geographical range, were studied from March 2000 to November 2002 using modal analysis. As only 1 juvenile (first year after recruitment) and 1 adult (subsequent years) modes could be distinguished; only juvenile growth was quantified. Concomitantly, experiments were carried out to test several factors assumed to influence juvenile growth: food quantity and quality, emersion, salinity variations and temperature. Three different juvenile growth patterns were evidenced: (1) a fast and protracted growth linked to high food availability and lack of disturbance; (2) a winter cessation of growth likely due to a seasonal increase of emersion-related stress and salinity variations; and (3) disrupted juvenile dynamics, which was encountered in 2 populations. In the first one, estuarine salinity conditions limited growth and, combined with food depletion, led to the extinction of the population. In the second one, wave action confined most of the population to a restricted area with low food levels. In the third scenario, intraspecific competition for food was probably at the source of an unusual growth pattern in which most juveniles did not grow while a small proportion achieved a medium growth rate.