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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 120:251-262 (1995)  -  doi:10.3354/meps120251

Detritus-based patches of high secondary production in the nearshore benthos

Vetter, E. W.

Topographical features like depressions and submarine canyons accumulate organic debris that fuel patches of intense secondary production. A submarine canyon system off the coast of La Jolla, California, USA, harbors an assemblage of leptostracan and amphipod crustaceans whose local density and secondary production greatly exceed those of any natural system yet reported. These crustaceans utilize large accumulations of macrophyte detritus as both habitat and food, and are preyed on by numerous species of fishes. Bottom topographies acting as detritus traps are relatively common along many coasts and provide an important mechanism to channel marine macrophyte production into higher trophic levels.

Secondary production . Dense assemblage . Leptostracans . Submarine canyon . Detritus . Saprotrophic

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