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What regulates crab predation on mangrove propagules?
Van Nedervelde, F.; Cannicci, S; Koedam, N.; Bosire, J; Dahdouh-Guebas, F. (2015). What regulates crab predation on mangrove propagules? Acta Oecol. (Montrouge) 63: 63-70. dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.actao.2014.11.006
In: Acta Oecologica (Montrouge). Gauthier-Villars: Montrouge. ISSN 1146-609X, more
Peer reviewed article  

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Keywords
    Avicennia marina (Forssk.) Vierh. [WoRMS]; Ceriops tagal (Perr.) C.B. Robinson [WoRMS]; Decapoda [WoRMS]; Brackish water
Author keywords
    Decapod; Competition; Predation; Propagule; Gazi Bay

Authors  Top 
  • Van Nedervelde, F., more
  • Cannicci, S
  • Koedam, N., more
  • Bosire, J
  • Dahdouh-Guebas, F., more

Abstract
    Crabs play a major role in some ecosystems. To increase our knowledge about the factors that influence crab predation on propagules in mangrove forests, we performed experiments in Gazi Bay, Kenya in July 2009. We tested whether: (1) crab density influences propagule predation rate; (2) crab size influences food competition and predation rate; (3) crabs depredate at different rates according to propagule and canopy cover species; (4) vegetation density is correlated with crab density; (5) food preferences of herbivorous crabs are determined by size, shape and nutritional value. We found that (1) propagule predation rate was positively correlated to crab density. (2) Crab competitive abilities were unrelated to their size. (3) Avicennia marina propagules were consumed more quickly than Ceriops tagal except under C. tagal canopies. (4) Crab density was negatively correlated with the density of A. marina trees and pneumatophores. (5) Crabs prefer small items with a lower C:N ratio. Vegetation density influences crab density, and crab density affects propagule availability and hence vegetation recruitment rate. Consequently, the mutual relationships between vegetation and crab populations could be important for forest restoration success and management.

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