Destruction and opportunity on the sea floor: effects of gray whale feeding

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Oliver, J. S., & Slattery, P. N. (1985). Destruction and opportunity on the sea floor: effects of gray whale feeding. Ecology, 66(6), 1965-1975.
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TitleDestruction and opportunity on the sea floor: effects of gray whale feeding
AuthorsS. Oliver, N. Slattery
AbstractEschrichtius robustus are highly disruptive bottom feeders that remove infaunal invertebrate prey and sediments by suction. The response of the benthos to gray whale feeding was examined in the primary feeding grounds of the Bering Sea and in an ecological analog of these prey communities along the W coast of Vancouver Island. Large feeding excavations (often 2-20m2) were rapidly colonized by scavenging lysianassid amphipods, especially Anonyx spp. that attacked injured and dislodged infauna. Many of the attacked animals were small crustaceans (<1cm long) and polychaete worms. Anonyx spp. was 20-30 times more abundant inside fresh excavations than in the surrounding tube mat, where they dispersed within hours after the initial feeding disturbance. A smaller species of lysianassid, Orchomene minuta, invaded less rapidly and remained much longer in excavations than the larger, Anonyx spp. Within days and weeks, gray whale feeding excavations trapped organic debris. Most invading species were much more abundant in debris patches compared to debris-free areas of the same excavations. The numbers of some colonists remained elevated in disturbed areas for 2 mo.
JournalEcology
Date1985
Volume66
Issue6
Start page1965
End page1975
ISSN00129658
Subjectsamphipods, Anonyx, Bering Sea, Eschrichtius robustus, Lysianassidae, Orchomene minuta, Vancouver Island.
NoteCited By (since 1996):68

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