|Role of predation on sandy beaches: Predation pressure and prey selectivity estimated by laboratory experiments|Van Tomme, J.; Degraer, S.; Vincx, M. (2014). Role of predation on sandy beaches: Predation pressure and prey selectivity estimated by laboratory experiments. J. Exp. Mar. Biol. Ecol. 451: 115-121. dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jembe.2013.11.009
In: Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology. Elsevier: New York. ISSN 0022-0981, more
Crangon crangon (Linnaeus, 1758) [WoRMS]; Pleuronectes platessa Linnaeus, 1758 [WoRMS]; Marine
Crangon crangon; Macrobenthos; Pleuronectes platessa; Predationpressure; Prey selectivity; Sandy beach
Predation is known to play an important role in structuring communities. In rocky intertidal communities, both environmental variables and the structuring role of predation determine species zonation and distribution patterns. However, on intertidal sandy beaches, little is known on the presence and the role of predation. In this study, laboratory experiments were used to examine prey consumption, prey selectivity and predation pressure of the two main epibenthic predators, being shrimp and juvenile flatfish, present on the intertidal beach at high tide. Results show that macrobenthos is important in the diet of these epibenthic predators and that prey selectivity is present. As predation pressure on the intertidal beach is high, predation is probably an important structuring factor for the sandy beach macrobenthos community. Hence, the macrobenthos zonation pattern is likely to be steered by the combination of abiotic and biotic factors: while the upper limit of a species zone is defined by the species physiological response to abiotic environmental variables, the lower limit is defined by biotic factors such as predation pressure. Furthermore, the intertidal zone functions as an important nursery area for commercially important species like shrimp and flatfish.