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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 281:155-163 (2004)  -  doi:10.3354/meps281155

Predation by the mysid shrimps Mysis mixta and M. relicta on benthic eggs of Bosmina longispina maritima (Cladocera) in the northern Baltic Sea

Satu Viitasalo1,2,*, Markku Viitasalo3

1Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences, University of Helsinki, PO Box 65, 00014 Helsinki, Finland 2Tvärminne Zoological Station, 10900 Hanko, Finland 3Finnish Institute of Marine Research, PO Box 33, 00931 Helsinki, Finland

ABSTRACT: The abundance of Bosmina longispina maritima (Cladocera), the most common water flea in the Baltic Sea, shows considerable interannual fluctuations.The number of Bosmina resting eggs (ephippia) in the sediment also fluctuates from year to year. Biotic as well as abiotic factors have been suggested to contribute to these fluctuations, but the impact of benthic predation by pelagic mysids has not yet been considered. The objective of this study was to investigate the effect of benthic predation and bioturbation by Mysis mixta and M. relicta on the ephippia of B. longispina maritima on the SW coast of Finland. The results show that mysids can significantly affect the number of Bosmina eggs in the sediment. All size groups of both mysid species preyed upon ephippia of B. longispina maritima both in the water column and directly from the top layer of sediment, whereas they rejected the eggs of another cladoceran species, Pleopsis polyphemoides. The predation rate on B. longispina maritima ephippia was significantly lower when the eggs were buried under a sediment layer of ca. 1 cm. This suggests that factors affecting the vertical distribution of ephippia in the sediment determine the magnitude of the impact that mysids have on B. longispina maritima benthic eggs.

KEY WORDS: Bosmina longispina maritima · Resting eggs · Mysis mixta · M. relicta · Benthic predation · Baltic Sea

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