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The role of grazing by the lysianassid amphipod Orchomenella aahu in dieback of the kelp Ecklonia radiata in north-eastern New Zealand
Haggitt, T.R.; Babcock, R.C. (2003). The role of grazing by the lysianassid amphipod Orchomenella aahu in dieback of the kelp Ecklonia radiata in north-eastern New Zealand. Mar. Biol. (Berl.) 143(6): 1201-1211. http://hdl.handle.net/10.1007/s00227-003-1152-2
In: Marine Biology. Springer: Heidelberg; Berlin. ISSN 0025-3162, more
Peer reviewed article  

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Keyword
    Marine

Authors  Top 
  • Haggitt, T.R.
  • Babcock, R.C.

Abstract
    The lysianassid amphipod Orchomenella aahu was associated with small-scale mass mortality of Ecklonia radiata, the dominant laminarian alga in north-eastern New Zealand. O. aahu burrowed into and hollowed out stipes with severe bleaching, accelerating mortality by 12–14 months. Meristoderm tissue of bleached plants contained approximately one-third of the phlorotannin content (~4% dry mass) present in unbleached, apparently healthier, sporophytes (~12% dry mass). Unbleached stages consistently lacked amphipod damage. O. aahu also colonised plants when non-lethal storm damage afforded entry into the cortical layers of the primary lamina, and ultimately the stipe. O. aahu typically consumed both medullary and cortical tissue of the stipes, forming networked brood-chambers within them, with increasing populations often reducing the plant to the holdfast. There was synchronised mortality across sites and between depths over spatial scales of metres. Following loss of the mature canopy, recruitment of E. radiata was generally within 2 months at most study sites where mortality had occurred.

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