Small-scale spatial and temporal interactions among benthic crustaceans and one fish species in the Bay of Biscay
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In the summer of 2004, a video survey was carried out in the northern part of the central mud bank (Grande Vasière) of the Bay of Biscay to study the small scale relationship between the dominant crustacean megafauna Nephrops norvegicus, Munida rugosa and Goneplax rhomboides and juvenile hake (Merluccius merluccius). Using a towed body, high-resolution videos were recorded in six sampling sites. Statistical modelling using generalised additive models (GAM) revealed variations in activity patterns for two species. More N. norvegicus were observed outside their burrows at dawn and somewhat at dusk (no observations during night) while G. rhomboides was less observed in the morning. In addition, reduced spatial overlap between G. rhomboides and N. norvegicus suggested reduced competition for food but also space as both are burrowing species. The observed temporal and spatial activity patterns may contribute to regulating assemblage structure as competing species may be actively foraging at different times and locations thus reducing direct competition.
KeywordsBenthos Video Variations in activity patterns Competition
We would like to thank our colleagues J.F. Cadiou, A.-G. Allais, J.L. Michel, A. Przybicin, X. Saint-Laurent and Y. Denis for preparing and running the video equipment. On board assistance by A. Ollitraut and the crew of RV Côtes de la Manche is gratefully acknowledged.
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