Living under intertidal mussels: distribution, reproduction, and condition indices in a brooding sea star, Anasterias minuta, in Patagonia, Argentina
Anasterias minuta is an abundant brooding sea star inhabiting tidepool habitats and mussel beds of Perumytilus purpuratus in Patagonia, Argentina. This study explores the influence of mussel bed complexity and tidal height on the size distribution of A. minuta living under mussel beds, and compares the abundance, reproduction, and condition indices in contrasting intertidal microhabitats (mussel hummocks and tidepools). Distribution patterns in mussel beds were explored at four sites along the coast of Argentina (45.4°S–47.4°S) during the austral spring, 2012/2017. Microhabitat comparisons were done at Caleta Cordova Norte between May 2004 and June 2005. Abundance inside mussel beds was correlated positively with mussel bed thickness and presence of mussel hummocks, and negatively with tidal height. Within mussel beds, early juveniles (recruits) and juveniles (greatest radius R < 15 mm) were generally restricted to low-tidal heights, while adults (R ≥ 15 mm) extended to mid-tidal levels. Sea stars were more abundant and larger in tidepools than under mussel beds. Numbers of recruits and juveniles increased significantly under mussel hummocks during austral spring and summer, coinciding with the release and subsequent growth of early juveniles. Brooding and gonadal cycles were synchronized between the microhabitats; however, the brooding cycle was nearly 2 months shorter under mussel hummocks (April–August) than in tidepools (April–October). The sea stars under mussels were smaller, had a less developed body wall, and greater gonadal production, indicating that more energy was allocated to reproduction compared to sea stars of similar size from tidepools. Further studies are needed to identify the specific environmental conditions that led to the observed adaptations and to understand the underlying physiological mechanisms.
We thank Alicia Boraso, Martin Varisco, Val Gerard, and two anonymous reviewers for insightful comments.
This study was partially supported by Universidad Nacional de la Patagonia San Juan Bosco. Project UNPSJB 955 (RN°127/2012).
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.
All applicable international, national, and institutional guidelines for the care and use of animals were followed.
- Agresti A (2015) Foundations of linear and generalized linear models. Wiley, New YorkGoogle Scholar
- Baker P, Mann R (1997) The postlarval phase of bivalve mollusks: a review of functional ecology and new records of postlarval drifting of Chesapeake Bay bivalves. Bull Mar Sci 61:409–430Google Scholar
- Bernasconi I (1964) Distribución geográfica de los equinoideos y asteroideos de la extremidad austral de Sudamérica. Bol Inst Biol Mar 7:43–50Google Scholar
- Bertness MD, Gaines SD, Yeh SM (1998) Making mountains out of barnacles: the dynamics of acorn barnacle hummocking. Ecology 79:1382–1394. https://doi.org/10.1890/0012-9658(1998)079%5B1382:MMOOBT%5D2.0.CO;2 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Bertness MD, Crain CM, Silliman BR, Bazterrica MC, Reyna M, Hildago F, Farina J (2006) The community structure of western Atlantic Patagonian rocky shores. Ecol Monogr 76:439–460. https://doi.org/10.1890/0012-9615(2006)076%5B0439:TCSOWA%5D2.0.CO;2 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Brogger MI, Gil DG, Rubilar T, Martinez MI, Díaz de Vivar ME, Escolar M, Epherra L, Pérez AF, Tablado A (2013) Echinoderms from Argentina: Biodiversity, distribution and current state of knowledge. In: Alvarado JJ, Solís-Marín FA (eds) Echinoderm research and diversity in Latin America. Springer, Berlin, pp 359–402CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Castilla JC, Luxoro C, Navarrete SA (1989) Galleries of the crabs Acanthocyclus under intertidal mussel beds: their effects on the use of primary substratum. Rev Chil Hist Nat 62:199–204Google Scholar
- Chia FS, Walker CW (1991) Echinodermata: Asteroidea. In: Giese AC, Pearse JS, Pearse VB (eds) Reproduction of marine invertebrates, vol VI. Echinoderms and lophophorates. Boxwood Press, California, pp 301–353Google Scholar
- Clark AM, Downey ME (1992) Starfishes of the Atlantic. Chapman & Hall, LondonGoogle Scholar
- Dahlhoff EP, Buckley BA, Menge BA (2001) Physiology of the rocky intertidal predator Nucella ostrina along an environmental stress gradient. Ecology 82:2816–2829. https://doi.org/10.1890/0012-9658(2001)082%5B2816:POTRIP%5D2.0.CO;2 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Feder HM, Christensen AM (1966) Aspects of asteroid biology. In: Boolootian RA (ed) Physiology of echinodermata. Interscience, New York, pp 87–127Google Scholar
- Firstater FN, Hidalgo FJ, Lomovasky BJ, Ramos E, Gamero P, Iribarne OO (2011) Habitat structure is more important than nutrient supply in modifying mussel bed assemblage in an upwelling area of the Peruvian coast. Helgol Mar Res 65:187–196. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10152-010-0214-3 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Gemmill JF (1912) I. The development of the starfish Solaster endeca Forbes. Trans Zool Soc Lond 20:1–71. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1469-7998.1912.tb07829.x CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Gil DG, Zaixso HE (2008) Feeding ecology of the subantarctic sea star Anasterias minuta within tide pools in Patagonia, Argentina. Rev Biol Trop 56:311–328Google Scholar
- Harger JRE, Landenberger DE (1971) The effect of storms as a density dependent mortality factor on populations of sea mussels. Veliger 14:195–201Google Scholar
- Hernández DA, Tablado A (1985) Asteroidea de Puerto Deseado (Santa Cruz, Argentina). Contribución CENPAT N°104, ArgentinaGoogle Scholar
- Lawrence JM, Herrera J (2000) Stress and deviant reproduction in echinoderms. Zool Stud 39:151–171Google Scholar
- Legendre P, Legendre LF (2012) Numerical ecology. Elsevier, AmsterdamGoogle Scholar
- Menge BA (1970) The population ecology and community role of the predaceous asteroid, Leptasterias hexactis (Stimpson). Ph.D. dissertation, University of WashingtonGoogle Scholar
- Nielsen TM (1973) Population and reproductive biology of the six-rayed sea star Leptasterias hexactis on the protected outer coast. Ph.D. dissertation, University of OregonGoogle Scholar
- Olsson AA (1961) Mollusks of the tropical eastern Pacific, Panamic Pacific Pelecypoda. Paleontological Research Institute, IthacaGoogle Scholar
- Salvat MB (1985) Biología de la reproducción de Anasterias minuta Perrier (Echinodermata, Asteroidea), especie incubadora de las costas patagónicas. Ph.D. dissertation, Universidad de Buenos AiresGoogle Scholar
- Sloan NA (1980) Aspects of the feeding biology of asteroids. Oceanogr Mar Biol Annu Rev 18:57–124Google Scholar
- Smith JR, Fong P, Ambrose RF (2006) Dramatic declines in mussel bed community diversity: response to climate change? Ecology 87:1153–1161. https://doi.org/10.1890/0012-9658(2006)87[1153:DDIMBC]2.0.CO;2 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
- Sokal RR, Rohlf FJ (1995) Biometry: the principles and practice of statistics in biological research. WH Freeman and Co, New YorkGoogle Scholar
- Soliman ES, Nojima S (1984) Some observations on dispersal behavior of the early juvenile of the sea-star, Asterina minor. Publ Amakusa Mar Biol Lab 7:81–93Google Scholar
- Suchanek TH (1985) Mussels and their role in structuring rocky shore communities. In: Moore PG, Seed R (eds) The ecology of rocky coasts. Hodder and Stoughton, London, pp 70–96Google Scholar
- ter Braak CJF, Šmilauer P (2002) CANOCO reference manual and CanoDraw for Windows user’s guide: software for canonical community ordination (version 45). Microcomputer Power, New YorkGoogle Scholar
- Zaixso HE, Boraso de Zaixso AL, López Gappa JJ (1978) Observaciones sobre el mesolitoral rocoso de la zona de Ushuaia (Tierra del Fuego, Argentina). Ecosur 5:119–130Google Scholar
- Zaixso HE, Boraso de Zaixso AL, Pastor de Ward CT, Lizarralde ZI, Dadón J, Galvan D (2015) El bentos costero patagónico. La zona costera patagónica Argentina. EDUPA, Comodoro RivadaviaGoogle Scholar
- Zardi GI, Nicastro K, McQuaid CD, Rius M, Porri F (2006) Hydrodynamic stress and habitat partitioning between indigenous (Perna perna) and invasive (Mytilus galloprovincialis) mussels: constraints of an evolutionary strategy. Mar Biol 150:79–88. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00227-006-0328-y CrossRefGoogle Scholar