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Marine Biology

, Volume 112, Issue 1, pp 139–146 | Cite as

Effects of the shoot density of seagrass on fish and decapods: are correlation evident over larger spatial scales?

  • D. G. Worthington
  • D. J. Ferrell
  • S. E. McNeill
  • J. D. Bell
Article

Abstract

Two conflicting models for the organisation of assemblages of fish and decapods associated with seagrass over large spatial scales, make contradictory predictions about the relationship between density of seagrass shoots and abundance, or diversity, of animals. We tested the predictions of both models by sampling small lish and decapods associated with two species of seagrass (Zostera capricorni Aschers and Posidonia australis Hook) at up to 16 sites within several estuaries in New South Wales, Australia, for 1.5 yr (December 1988 to March 1990). Variation in density of Z. capricorni shoots explained very little of the variation in abundance of animals. However, abundance of one species, the grass shirmp Macrobrachium intermedium, was more closely related to the density of shoots during non-recruitment seasons, suggesting that predation or emigration of individuals after settlement was greater in sparse beds. The effect of variation in density of P. australis shoots was confounded with consistent distribution patterns of most fish and decapod species. As a result, data from P. australis did not provide good tests of the hypotheses. We conclude that density of seagrass shoots explained very little of the large-scale variation in abundance of associated fish and decapods. The data do, however, support the inodel which predicts that the abundance of animals among separate seagrass beds will follow the supply of new individuals to them.

Keywords

Distribution Pattern Spatial Scale Good Test Large Spatial Scale Shoot Density 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • D. G. Worthington
    • 1
  • D. J. Ferrell
    • 1
  • S. E. McNeill
    • 1
  • J. D. Bell
    • 1
  1. 1.Fisheries Research InstituteNew South Wales Office of FisheriesCronullaAustalia

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