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Microhabitat segregation of the amphipod genus Gammarus (Crustacea: Amphipoda) in the Northern Baltic Sea
Korpinen, S.; Westerbom, M. (2010). Microhabitat segregation of the amphipod genus Gammarus (Crustacea: Amphipoda) in the Northern Baltic Sea. Mar. Biol. (Berl.) 157(2): 361-370.
In: Marine Biology. Springer: Heidelberg; Berlin. ISSN 0025-3162, more
Peer reviewed article  

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  • Korpinen, S.
  • Westerbom, M.

    Closely related species may occupy very similar niches but are often found to diverge by one or more traits when they share the same habitat. Five indigenous and sympatric Gammarus species are characteristic for the Baltic rocky littoral ecosystem. Yet, the species-specific distribution of these sympatric gammarids has not been well studied in the northern Baltic Sea. This study was undertaken to assess the spatial distribution of gammarid amphipods along wave exposure and depth gradients to study whether they show segregation in their microhabitat use. We sampled 12 rocky sublittoral shores along a wave exposure gradient over a period of 5 years. Samples differed with respect to depth and macroalgal type. Three of the five gammarid species occurred mainly in different depth zones and among different macroalgae at the exposed shores. In contrast, on protected shores, where algal zonation is weaker, a link to zonation and macroalgal type was almost absent. Moreover, the microhabitat use was strongest during the reproductive seasons of the species. The observed microhabitats of the three gammarid species fit well to their species-specific mean body sizes.

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