, Volume 70, Issue 3, pp 372–379 | Cite as

Use of rocky intertidal pools by shrimp species in a temperate area

  • Catarina VinagreEmail author
  • Marta Dias
  • Catarina Fonseca
  • Maria T. Pinto
  • Henrique N. Cabral
  • Ana Silva


Rocky shores are among the most-intensively studied ecosystems, however, tidal pools remain relatively understudied. This study aims to investigate the habitat use and dynamics of the shrimp species that occur in tidal pools of a North-eastern Atlantic coast, the Portuguese coast, in particular species composition, abundance, seasonality and size structure. Shrimps were sampled monthly from six tidal pools for one year, in the west Portuguese coast. Species diversity was much higher than that found in previous studies, in other parts of the world. The shrimp population comprised 8 species: the European rock shrimp, Palaemon elegans, the common prawn, Palaemon serratus, the Atlantic ditch shrimp, Palaemon varians, the Baltic prawn, Palaemon adspersus, the Oriental shrimp, Palaemon macrodactylus and the relatively rare shrimps Eualus sollaudi, Eualus drachi and Caridion gordoni. Shrimp populations varied seasonally and among pools, with peak numbers in spring and summer. The most abundant species was P. elegans. P. elegans was present in all pools, throughout most of the year. Rare and exotic species were present mostly in spring-summer. Lower mean sizes of all shrimp were registered in the beginning of spring, most often in April or May, and gradually increased until winter. New-recruits of the most abundant species, P. elegans, generally entered the pools in spring and formed a high proportion of the population between April and August. They were responsible for the highest abundance peaks of shrimps occurring in the pools. The species richness and high numbers of juveniles occurring in tidal pools suggest that these environments may be nursery areas for coastal shrimp.

Key words

Crustacea intertidal area rocky reefs tidal pools recruitment 


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Authors would like to thank everyone involved in the fieldwork, Alexandra Cartaxana of the Natural History Museum of Lisbon for helping with species’ identification and Carolina Madeira for photographing the specimens. This study had the support of the Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology through the grant SFRH/BPD/34934/2007 and the contract awarded to C. Vinagre, the strategic project PEst-OE/MAR/UI0199/2011 granted to Centro de Oceanografia and the projects PTDC/MAR-EST/2141/2012 and PTDC/AAG-REC/2139/2012.


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Copyright information

© Slovak Academy of Sciences 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Catarina Vinagre
    • 1
    Email author
  • Marta Dias
    • 1
  • Catarina Fonseca
    • 2
  • Maria T. Pinto
    • 1
  • Henrique N. Cabral
    • 1
  • Ana Silva
    • 3
  1. 1.MARE — Marine and Environmental Sciences Centre, Faculdade de CięenciasUniversidade de LisboaLisboaPortugal
  2. 2.AIMM-Associação para Investigação do Meio MarinhoLisboaPortugal
  3. 3.Centro de Geo-sistemas/CVRM.Instituto Superior Técnico. Av. Rovisco PaisLisboaPortugal

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