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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 662:205-208 (2021)  -  DOI:

Predation in littoral habitats is a complex process: Comment on Whitfield (2020)

Ronald Baker1,2,*, Marcus Sheaves3

1Department of Marine Sciences, University of South Alabama, Mobile, AL 36688, USA
2Dauphin Island Sea Lab, Dauphin Island, AL 36528, USA
3Centre for Tropical Water and Aquatic Ecosystem Research, and Marine Data Technologies Hub, College of Science and Engineering, James Cook University, Townsville, QLD, 4811, Australia
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: Shallow littoral waters in estuaries provide important nurseries for a diversity of fish species. The recent review of Whitfield (2020; Mar Ecol Prog Ser 649:219-234) reinforced the long-held paradigm that the value of shallow nurseries is due, in part, to these habitats containing few predators and having low predation pressure. We argue that the provision of refuge does not necessarily mean that a habitat must have few predators and low predation pressure, and present evidence that shallow nurseries contain abundant predator assemblages, may have high predation pressure, and be the habitats where much of the high mortality suffered by juvenile cohorts occurs. Shallow littoral waters are clearly important nurseries, and we highlight the importance of predation in nursery ground functioning.

KEY WORDS: Nursery · Refuge · Piscivore · Estuary

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Cite this article as: Baker R, Sheaves M (2021) Predation in littoral habitats is a complex process: Comment on Whitfield (2020). Mar Ecol Prog Ser 662:205-208.

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