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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 408:47-53 (2010)  -  DOI:

Seaweed-mediated indirect interaction between two species of meso-herbivores

Hee Young Yun1,*, Sven Rohde2, Kevin Linnane3, Martin Wahl4, Markus Molis1

1Section Seaweed Biology, Biologische Anstalt Helgoland, Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research, Marine Station, Kurpromenade 201, 27498 Helgoland, Germany
2University of Guam, Marine Lab, Mangilao 96923, Guam
3RPS Planning and Development, Conrad House, Beaufort Square, Chepstow, Monmouthshire NP16 5EP, UK
4IFM-GEOMAR, Leibniz Institute of Marine Sciences, Düsternbrooker Weg 20, 24105 Kiel, Germany

ABSTRACT: Previous studies on trait-mediated trophic interactions in marine ecosystems were restricted to pair-wise interactions between one species of meso-herbivore and plant, though multi-grazer interactions are more common in nature. We investigated whether the feeding of one consumer, either the periwinkle Littorina littorea or the isopod Idotea baltica, affected consumption by the other consumer via anti-herbivory defence induction in the brown seaweed Fucus vesiculosus. To test the generality of our findings, we ran similar experiments with seaweed/grazer populations in the North and Baltic Seas (NE Atlantic). Grazer-specificity in induction strength was assessed by using the same species of grazer for induction and consumption. ‘Indirect’ induction effects were assessed by using different species of grazers for induction and consumption. Palatability assays were run with live algae and with reconstituted food to distinguish between different mechanisms of resistance. Grazing by herbivores induced a chemical defence in F. vesiculosus. In the North Sea population, the induced defences were only effective against I. baltica, regardless of inducer identity. The sensitive responses of I. baltica to the induced defences were also detected in the reconstituted food assays using Baltic Sea organisms. Thus, marine meso-grazers may be affected by previous feeding through the same or a different species of consumer by modified prey traits, such as induced chemical defences. Furthermore, the magnitude of the effect in the induced defences can be determined by species-specific sensitivity.

KEY WORDS: Multi-species interactions · Trait-mediated indirect interaction · Fucus vesiculosus · Idotea baltica · Littorina littorea · Herbivore–seaweed interactions

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Cite this article as: Yun HY, Rohde S, Linnane K, Wahl M, Molis M (2010) Seaweed-mediated indirect interaction between two species of meso-herbivores. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 408:47-53.

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