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Metapopulation structure of the marine isopod Idotea metallica, a species associated with drifting habitat patches
Gutow, L.; Franke, H.-D. (2003). Metapopulation structure of the marine isopod Idotea metallica, a species associated with drifting habitat patches. Helgol. Mar. Res. 56(4): 259-264
In: Helgoland Marine Research. Springer: Berlin; Heidelberg. ISSN 1438-387X, more
Peer reviewed article  

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Keyword
    Marine

Authors  Top 
  • Gutow, L.
  • Franke, H.-D.

Abstract
    The neustonic isopod Idotea metallica inhabits objects drifting at the sea surface. Animals found on floating patches represent not just ephemeral assemblages but persistent local populations. Drift material collected in the Mediterranean, the North Atlantic, and the North Sea harboured populations of up to about 50 animals including all developmental stages. In laboratory experiments the species proved to be able to establish populations on spatially limited, isolated substrates. The capacity of 5-litre-microcosms for I. Metallica was about 130 animals. In the presence of the coastally distributed congener Idotea baltica, however, laboratory populations of I. Metallica went extinct within 12 weeks. Even though high colonisation rates can be expected in coastal waters because of high patch densities, metapopulation persistence is mostly restricted to the open sea. In coastal waters extinction rate of local populations increases because of patch destruction and the species’ inferiority to coastally distributed competitors. Due to high uncertainties in estimating patch densities, it is difficult to determine the parameters underlying metapopulation dynamics such as the migration rate and the rate of patch occupancy.

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