ALVAREZ Maria Fernanda
Interaction between a mobile and a sessile species in SW Atlantic mudflats: Lack of negative effects of the mud crab Cyrtograpsus angulatus Dana, 1851 on filtration rate and growth of the infaunal clam Tagelus plebeius (Lightfoot, 1786)
ADDINO, MARIANA; ALVAREZ, M FERNANDA; IRIBARNE, OSCAR; LOMOVASKY, BETINA
JOURNAL OF EXPERIMENTAL MARINE BIOLOGY AND ECOLOGY
ELSEVIER SCIENCE BV
Lugar: Amsterdam; Año: 2016 vol. 476 p. 66 - 71
Biogenic modifications of benthic environment by organism´s activities like feeding, burrowing or excretion have in general negative implications for cohabiting sessile infauna, especially for suspension-feeders. However, the outcome of these interactions depends on several biological and physical characteristics and thus, it is not easilypredictable in soft bottom environments. The stout razor clamTagelus plebeius, an estuarine, infaunal and sessile filter feeder species, coexists in Mar Chiquita coastal lagoon (Argentina, 37° 32′S, 57° 19′W) with the mud crab Cyrtograpsus angulatus, a very mobile benthic consumer. Due to the intense crab activity and consequent habitat transformation, we predicted negative effects on clams´ filtration rate and their growth. However, an inclusion experiment showed that T. plebeius filtration rate was higher in enclosureswhen crabs were present responding to enhanced turbidity and chlorophyll a. Additionally, another experiment showed that mean condition index as well as mean shell growth increment of clams was not negatively affected by crabs, although maximumvalues of shell growth increments (mm) were smaller in crab inclusions. Our findings suggest that the clams can exploit the increased food availability (i.e., Chl a) generated by resuspension and are also not affected by the disturbancethat crabs can make over sediment surface. In conclusion, contrary to the generalized outcome proposed for this kind of interaction, crabs do not have a negative effect on T. plebeius.