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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 704:67-79 (2023)  -  DOI:

Effects of season and latitude on the diet quality of the invasive Asian shore crab Hemigrapsus sanguineus

Tanner C. Reese1,#, Jill Alder2, Emily Gail Asay1, April M. H. Blakeslee3, Doreen Cabrera1, Laura C. Crane4, Laura S. Fletcher1, Emily Pinkston1, Michele F. Repetto5, Nanette Smith1, Carter Stancil1, Carolyn K. Tepolt6, Benjamin J. Toscano7, Blaine D. Griffen1,*

1Department of Biology, Brigham Young University, Provo, UT 84602, USA
2Department of Biology, Southern Utah University, Cedar City, UT 84720, USA
3Department of Biology, East Carolina University, Greenville, NC 27858, USA
4Wells National Estuarine Research Reserve, Wells, ME 04090, USA
5Department of Biology, Temple University, Philadelphia, PA 19122, USA
6Department of Biology, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Woods Hole, MA 02738, USA
7Department of Biology, Trinity College, Hartford, CT 06106, USA
*Corresponding author:
#Apart from first and last authors, all authors listed alphabetically

ABSTRACT: Invasive species alter invaded ecosystems via direct impacts such as consumption. In turn, an invasive species’ ability to thrive in new habitats depends on its ability to exploit available resources, which may change over time and space. Diet quality and quantity are indicators of a consumer’s consumptive effects and can be strongly influenced by season and latitude. We examined the effects of season and latitude on the diet quality and quantity of the invasive Asian shore crab Hemigrapsus sanguineus throughout a non-winter sampling year at 5 different sites spanning 8° of latitude across its invaded United States range. We found that diet quality, averaged through time, largely follows an expected latitudinal cline, being higher in the center of its range and lower toward the southern and northern edges. We also found that while some sites show similar patterns of diet quality variation with season, no pattern is consistent across all latitudes. Finally, we found that crabs at sites with low diet quality during summer reproductive months did not compensate by increasing total consumption. Because the Asian shore crab is an important consumer in its invaded ecosystems, understanding how its diet quality and quantity vary with season and latitude can help us better understand how this species influences trophic interactions and community structure, how it has been able to establish across a wide ecological and environmental range, and where future range expansion is most likely to occur.

KEY WORDS: Gut size · Energetics · Diet quality · Energy content · Residual gut mass · Invasive species

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Cite this article as: Reese TC, Alder J, Asay EG, Blakeslee AMH and others (2023) Effects of season and latitude on the diet quality of the invasive Asian shore crab Hemigrapsus sanguineus. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 704:67-79.

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