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Predation on 0-group and older year classes of the bivalve Macoma balthica: interaction of size selection and intertidal distribution of epibenthic predators
Hiddink, J.G.; Marijnissen, S.A.E.; Troost, K.; Wolff, W.J. (2002). Predation on 0-group and older year classes of the bivalve Macoma balthica: interaction of size selection and intertidal distribution of epibenthic predators. J. Exp. Mar. Biol. Ecol. 269(2): 233-248
In: Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology. Elsevier: Tokyo; Oxford; New York; Lausanne; Shannon; Amsterdam. ISSN 0022-0981, more
Peer reviewed article  

Also published as
  • Hiddink, J.G.; Marijnissen, S.A.E.; Troost, K.; Wolff, W.J. (2002). Predation on 0-group and older year classes of the bivalve Macoma balthica: interaction of size selection and intertidal distribution of epibenthic predators, in: Hiddink, J.G. The adaptive value of migrations for the bivalve Macoma balthica. : pp. 233-248, more

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Keywords
    Cages; Migrations; Predation; Carcinus maenas (Linnaeus, 1758) [WoRMS]; Crangon crangon (Linnaeus, 1758) [WoRMS]; Macoma balthica (Linnaeus, 1758) [WoRMS]; ANE, Wadden Sea [Marine Regions]; Marine

Authors  Top 
  • Hiddink, J.G., more
  • Marijnissen, S.A.E.
  • Troost, K., more
  • Wolff, W.J., more

Abstract
    The bivalve Macoma balthica is a common species in the Wadden Sea and North Sea. Juveniles temporarily use nurseries in the high intertidal. To explain this nursery use, predation pressure was examined for both juvenile and adult Macoma at low and high tidal flats. The study was carried out in the eastern Dutch Wadden Sea. Shrimps Crangon crangon, adult crabs Carcinus maenas, gobies Pomatoschistus and juvenile flatfish were more abundant and larger on low than on high tidal flats, but 0-group Carcinus was more abundant on the high tidal flats. Crangon and 0-group Carcinus stomachs frequently contained Macoma remains. These predators selectively preyed on small 0-group Macoma, both in the field and in laboratory experiments. The effect of predation by epibenthic animals and birds, on the low and high tidal flats, was examined in exclosure experiments (2 mm mesh). There was no effect of epibenthos exclosure on adult Macoma. For 0-group Macoma, densities were higher in exclosures than in the controls where predators had normal access. The density reduction by epibenthic predators was much larger in the low than in the high intertidal. We found no effect of bird predation on densities of 0- and 1+group Macoma. Thus, 0-group Macoma is under high predation pressure by epibenthos in the low intertidal, especially by shrimps, while they are relatively safe in the high intertidal. However, most of the shellfish outgrow their epibenthic predators during their first summer. Therefore, it becomes safe for the bivalves to redistribute to locations where epibenthic predators are abundant, during their first winter. On the other hand, it did not become clear from this study why many of the larger Macoma leave the high intertidal. Concluding, the nursery use of Macoma-spat in the high intertidal is probably, at least partly, an adaptation to avoid epibenthic predation.

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