Dispersal of the estuarine gastropod Pyrazus ebeninus is only weakly influenced by pneumatophore density

Elsevier Inc
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Journal Article
Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology, 2007, 340 pp. 62 - 69
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Studies on rocky intertidal gastropods indicate habitat complexity and body size to be major determinants of dispersal patterns. Considerations of effects of habitat complexity and body size on soft sediment gastropods are, hwoever, less common. In neither habitat has the interaction between habitat complexity and body size been considered despite the increasing recognition in the general ecological liertature that complexity effetcs are body-size-dependent. We tested independent and interacting effects of habitat complexity and body size on movement of the mud-whelk, Pyrazus ebeninus, by marking large 961-85 mm) and small (31-55mm) snails in sites with low and high densities if pneumatophores and determining the distance and direction of their dispersal over periods of 1 week, 2 week and 1 month. Contrary to our expectation, we found no effects of pneumatophore density on the distance of snail migration over each of the temporal scales; net distance travelled by snails was determined opnly by body size and idiosyncratic, site-speficic factors. The direction of snail movement was, by contrast, influenced o some temporal scales by both pneumatophore density and snail size. Over 1 week, site effects dominated patterns of movement and neother size of snail nor density of pneumatophore produced statistically significant effects. As the temporal scale increased, effects of size with pneumatophore density became increasingly apparent.
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