AB 17:141-144 (2012)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/ab00468

NOTE
Refuge availability increases kelp consumption by purple sea urchins exposed to predation risk cue

Lindsay A. Green*

Marine Science Center, Northeastern University, 430 Nahant Road, Nahant, Massachusetts 01908, USA Present address: Department of Biological Science, University of New Hampshire, 46 College Road, Durham, New Hampshire 03824, USA

ABSTRACT: Predator−prey interactions in kelp forests have been a topic of research for many decades. Prey anti-predator behaviors (e.g. reducing foraging) are an important component of predator−prey interactions and can cause impacts on primary producers (trait-mediated indirect interactions, TMIIs). In kelp forests, the interactions between spiny lobsters and their sea urchin prey can have significant impacts on kelp biomass. In a laboratory mesocosm experiment, I found that both spiny lobster Panulirus interruptus waterborne risk cue and urchin refuge availability significantly affected kelp Macrocystis pyrifera consumption by urchins Strongylocentrotus purpuratus. However, the effect of predator risk cue on kelp consumption was magnified in the absence of an urchin refuge. This study provides further evidence that TMIIs are important in lobster−urchin interactions, and suggests that refuge availability, by influencing foraging behavior, may also shape the important role of urchins in kelp forests.


KEY WORDS: Trait-mediated indirect interactions · Refuge · Kelp forest · Strongylocentrotus purpuratus · Panulirus interruptus · Macrocystis pyrifera


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Cite this article as: Green LA (2012) Refuge availability increases kelp consumption by purple sea urchins exposed to predation risk cue. Aquat Biol 17:141-144. https://doi.org/10.3354/ab00468

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