Leading role of the sea urchin Arbacia lixula in maintaining the barren state in southwestern Mediterranean.

Paola Gianguzza, Chiara Bonaviri, T. Vega Fernández, Badalamenti, Giovanni Fanelli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

48 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Sympatric sea urchin species are usuallyconsidered to belong to the same grazer guild. Nevertheless,their role in community dynamics may vary due tospecies-specific morphological traits, feeding preferencesand foraging behavior. In the Mediterranean Sea, the twospecies Paracentrotus lividus and Arbacia lixula co-occurin barren areas. Whereas P. lividus is usually consideredresponsible for creating a barren ground, the roles of thetwo sea urchin species in its maintenance are currentlyunclear. The relative and combined effects of P. lividus andA. lixula on maintaining the benthic community in thebarren state were tested experimentally, using orthogonalexclusion of the two species. Results show that exclusionof A. lixula, regardless of the presence of P. lividus, led toa significant decrease in the surface of bare rock and asignificant change of the algal assemblages, thus demonstratingthe major role of this species in maintaining thebarren state.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2505-2513
Number of pages9
JournalMarine Biology
Volume158
Publication statusPublished - 2011

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Aquatic Science
  • Ecology

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