Biological Options for the Management of the Exploitation of Intertidal and Subtidal Resources

  • A. H. Dye
  • G. M. Branch
  • J. C. Castilla
  • B. A. Bennett
Part of the Ecological Studies book series (ECOLSTUD, volume 103)


The management of human exploitation of living resources is a complex of biological, social, legal and economic factors, made all the more difficult because the effects of human exploitation differ qualitatively from those of natural predators. For example, Fig. 7.1 summarizes the interplay between man and other organisms in the intertidal zone of islands off the west coast of southern Africa. Four sets of natural biological interactions have been studied at these islands: the impact of oystercatchers Haematopus moquini on limpets; the effect of limpets on algae; the role algal beds play in supporting small invertebrates; and predation by small waders (shorebirds: Charadrii) on these invertebrates (Hockey and Branch 1984; Branch 1985; Bosman and Hockey 1998a,b,c, 1989; Branch and Griffiths 1988). Each of these interactions is buffered, because checks and balances occur between the consumers and their resources and because of the involvement of other species. Oystercatchers cannot consume all limpets, because some shelter out of reach on vertical rocks, and others grow large enough to escape predators. Primary production is high on the islands because of the fertilizing effects of guano. Associated with this, limpet growth rates are enhanced and the limpets achieve larger sizes than elsewhere. Similarly, limpets cannot eliminate algal beds on the islands, partly because their numbers are reduced by oystercatchers, but also because of the high productivity of the algae. Small invertebrates feed directly on the algal beds, but are kept in check by waders. Their numbers are substantially reduced by waders during summer, but they have a temporal refuge in winter when most of the waders emigrate.


Rocky Shore Marine Reserve Rock Lobster Closed Season Dissipative Beach 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. H. Dye
  • G. M. Branch
  • J. C. Castilla
  • B. A. Bennett

There are no affiliations available

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