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The effects of predator abundance and habitat structural complexity on survival of juvenile sea urchins
Hereu, B.; Zabala, M.; Linares, C.; Sala, E. (2005). The effects of predator abundance and habitat structural complexity on survival of juvenile sea urchins. Mar. Biol. (Berl.) 146(2): 293-299. hdl.handle.net/10.1007/s00227-004-1439-y
In: Marine Biology. Springer: Heidelberg; Berlin. ISSN 0025-3162, more
Peer reviewed article  

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Keyword
    Marine

Authors  Top 
  • Hereu, B.
  • Zabala, M.
  • Linares, C.
  • Sala, E.

Abstract
    We studied the effect of the abundance of predatory fishes and structural complexity of algal assemblages on the survival of juveniles of the sea urchin Paracentrotus lividus on Mediterranean infralittoral rocky bottoms. Post-settlement juveniles (2–10 mm) were placed on four distinct natural substrates with increasing structural complexity (coralline barren, algal turf, erect fleshy algal assemblages and small crevices) inside and outside the Medes Islands Marine Reserve. Predation on these sea urchins increased at greater abundance of predatory fishes, and decreased with greater structural complexity. The refuge provided by structural complexity, however, decreased with increasing size of sea urchin recruits. Predation on the smallest post-settlers was carried out almost exclusively by small fishes (<20 cm), mainly the labrid Coris julis, while the dominant predator of larger juveniles was the sparid Diplodus sargus. Our results demonstrate the cascading effects caused by the prohibition of fishing in marine reserves, and highlight the potential role of small predatory fishes in the control of sea urchin populations.

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