An experimental analysis of the importance of body-size in the seastar-mussel predator-prey relationship

Sommer, Ulrich, Meusel, Bodo and Stielau, Cordula (1999) An experimental analysis of the importance of body-size in the seastar-mussel predator-prey relationship Acta Oecologica - International Journal of Ecology, 20 (2). pp. 81-86. DOI 10.1016/S1146-609X(99)80019-8.

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Abstract

Laboratory feeding experiments were conducted to elucidate size-relationships in the seastar-mussel (Asterias rubens-Mytilus edulis) predator-prey interaction. This is one of the most well-known predator-prey relationships in marine benthic ecology and the dependence of seastar feeding rates and prey size selection are crucial for modelling. Moreover, the hypothesis should be tested that large individuals of M. edulis enjoy a size-refuge from seastar predation in the Baltic sea. Ingestion rates showed an allometric relationship to seastar size. They increased slightly more than cubically (b = 3.62) with the linear size of the seastars and slightly more than linearly (b = 1.27) with the body mass of the seastars. Somatic growth rates were linearly related to ingestion rates. Larger seastars tended to eat larger mussels. This relationship was significant for the largest size of mussels eaten and for the mean size of mussels eaten, but not for the minimal size. Size selection of seastars did not depend on the spatial arrangement of mussel sizes relative to the initial position of the seastars in the aquarium. Mussels of > 48 mm in length are safe from predation by the largest seastars found in the western Baltic sea.

Document Type: Article
Research affiliation: OceanRep > GEOMAR > FB3 Marine Ecology > FB3-EOE-N Experimental Ecology - Food Webs
OceanRep > GEOMAR > FB3 Marine Ecology
Refereed: Yes
DOI etc.: 10.1016/S1146-609X(99)80019-8
ISSN: 1146-609X
Date Deposited: 18 Feb 2008 17:24
Last Modified: 05 Sep 2016 11:35
URI: http://eprints.uni-kiel.de/id/eprint/3760

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