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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 205:85-93 (2000)  -  doi:10.3354/meps205085

ŒCo-consumption¹ and Œprotective coating¹: two new proposed effects of epiphytes on their macroalgal hosts in mesograzer-epiphyte-host interactions

Rolf Karez*, Silke Engelbert, Ulrich Sommer

Institut für Meereskunde, Düsternbrooker Weg 20, 24105 Kiel, Germany

ABSTRACT: Multiple-choice feeding experiments were performed with the isopod Idotea granulosa and the amphipod Gammarus locusta as consumers. In a first experiment, 2 different types of tissues of the brown seaweed Fucus vesiculosus and its main macroepiphytes, Ulva lactuca and Elachista fucicola, were offered. I. granulosa rejected apices of F. vesiculosus and preferred E. fucicola, while G. locusta clearly preferred F. vesiculosus tissue, especially the meristematic apices. In a second experiment, F. vesiculosus tissue with and without E. fucicola was offered together. For I. granulosa, the consumption of F. vesiculosus was enhanced by the presence of the epiphyte, while for G. locusta there was no difference in consumed F. vesiculosus mass. G. locusta, however, showed behavioural rejection of E. fucicola, and thus, the epiphyte acted as Œprotective coating¹. We conclude that host (F. vesiculosus) tissue could be Œco-consumed¹ by mesograzers (I. granulosa) that were attracted by the presence of epiphytes and that these epiphytes therefore may have a 2-fold negative effect on the host (i.e. competion for light, nutrients etc. and attraction of consumers). ŒCo-consumption¹ and Œprotective coating¹ add 2 more facets to the very variable and case-dependent interrelationships of mesograzer-epiphyte-host systems; their relevance in nature, however, remains to be demonstrated.

KEY WORDS: Herbivory · Feeding preference · Fucus · Crustacean grazers · Macroephiphytes · Multiple choice

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