Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Eelgrass Provides A Refuge From Predators For Some Fish Species

Date:
November 30, 2004
Source:
University Of Rhode Island
Summary:
The meadows of eelgrass found in lagoons along the Atlantic seacoast have a long history of providing a habitat for fish and invertebrates of many species. Despite this long history, it has proven difficult to document and quantify the relationships between eelgrass cover and the abundance of fish and crabs on a larger scale.

The meadows of eelgrass found in lagoons along the Atlantic seacoast have a long history of providing a habitat for fish and invertebrates of many species. Despite this long history, it has proven difficult to document and quantify the relationships between eelgrass cover and the abundance of fish and crabs on a larger scale.

An article in the current issue of the journal Marine Ecology Progress Series describes experiments by URI Graduate School of Oceanography (GSO) biological oceanographers Lora Harris, Betty Buckley, Scott Nixon, and Ben Allen to investigate how different habitats affect predator-prey relationships. The three habitats in the study included eelgrass Zostera marina, macroalgae, and bare sediment.

The study was supported by Rhode Island Sea Grant and carried out in the Lagoon Mesocosm Facility, located at the GSO's Narragansett Bay Campus.

Mesocosms containing marine sediments, coastal water, and varying densities of eelgrass or macroalgae were used to simulate conditions found in shallow coastal lagoons of Rhode Island. Bluefish, commonly found in Narragansett Bay and Rhode Island salt ponds, were used as predators in each experiment after appropriate acclimation in each habitat type. Prey fish were provided in equally weighted rations and included silversides, tautog, cunner, and menhaden, all species found in local eelgrass meadows and all part of the bluefish diet.

The scientists found that the presence of eelgrass significantly increased survival of silversides, tautog, and cunner even at very low shoot densities. Experiments using macroalgae did not result in significantly different survival rates between bare sand and macroalgae habitat for silversides or cunner, the two species tested for this vegetation type.

"These findings confirm the hypothesis that eelgrass habitats serve a functional role as refuges from predation for some prey fish," said Harris. "Studies have shown that the more structurally complex a habitat is, the more significant the decline in predation.

"Our results provide better insight into the different habitat value of eelgrass meadows. The findings support a continuation of efforts to protect and manage eelgrass meadows effectively."

###

The URI Graduate School of Oceanography is one of the country's largest marine science education programs, and one of the world's foremost marine research institutions. Founded in 1961 in Narragansett, RI, GSO serves a community of scientists who are researching the causes of and solutions to such problems as harmful algal blooms, global warming, air and water pollution, oil spills, overfishing, and coastal erosion. GSO is home to the Coastal Institute, the Coastal Resources Center, Rhode Island Sea Grant, the Institute for Archaeological Oceanography, the Pell Marine Science Library, and the National Sea Grant Library.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University Of Rhode Island. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University Of Rhode Island. "Eelgrass Provides A Refuge From Predators For Some Fish Species." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 30 November 2004. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/11/041124162441.htm>.
University Of Rhode Island. (2004, November 30). Eelgrass Provides A Refuge From Predators For Some Fish Species. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/11/041124162441.htm
University Of Rhode Island. "Eelgrass Provides A Refuge From Predators For Some Fish Species." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/11/041124162441.htm (accessed September 21, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: San Diego Zoo Welcomes Cheetah Cubs

Raw: San Diego Zoo Welcomes Cheetah Cubs

AP (Sep. 20, 2014) The San Diego Zoo has welcomed two Cheetah cubs to its Safari Park. The nearly three-week-old female cubs are being hand fed and are receiving around the clock care. (Sept. 20) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Chocolate Museum Opens in Brussels

Chocolate Museum Opens in Brussels

AFP (Sep. 19, 2014) Considered a "national heritage" in Belgium, chocolate now has a new museum in Brussels. In a former chocolate factory, visitors to the permanent exhibition spaces, workshops and tastings can discover derivatives of the cocoa bean. Duration: 01:00 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Newsy (Sep. 19, 2014) The study found elderly people are much more likely to become susceptible to infection than younger adults going though a similar situation. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Jury Delivers Verdict in Salmonella Trial

Jury Delivers Verdict in Salmonella Trial

AP (Sep. 19, 2014) A federal jury has convicted three people in connection with an outbreak of salmonella poisoning five years ago that sickened hundreds of people and was linked to a number of deaths. (Sept. 19) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins