Vertical swimming in wave-induced currents as a control mechanism of intertidal migration by a sand-beach isopod
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Both the vertical and horizontal distributions ofEurydice pulchra (Leach) within the water column of the surf zone were recorded throughout complete tidal cycles on a sandy beach in North Wales during the summer of 1989. Upon emerging from the sand, the isopods tended to swim up in the water column, where transport onshore would be facilitated by the wave-induced, onshore currents which laboratory wave-tank experiments have confirmed to occur near the water surface. This combination of active and passive transport to the water's edge results in high numbers of individuals in the narrow swash zone. At and just after the time of high tide, individuals swim to the water/sediment interface where, as again confirmed by wave-tank experiments, the predominant water movement is offshore. Continued swimming near the bottom during the ebb tide before reburrowing in the sand ensures transport downshore and avoidance of stranding above the characteristic level of zonation on the shore. Vertical migrations ofE. pulchra in the water column permit differential exploitation of up and downshore currents to achieve horizontal migration.
KeywordsWater Column Beach Tidal Cycle Vertical Migration Sandy Beach
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