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Diversity 2014, 6(4), 751-770; doi:10.3390/d6040751

Grazer Functional Roles, Induced Defenses, and Indirect Interactions: Implications for Eelgrass Restoration in San Francisco Bay

Romberg Tiburon Center for Environmental Studies and Department of Biology, San Francisco State University, 3150 Paradise Drive, Tiburon, CA 94920-1205, USA
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Received: 14 August 2014 / Revised: 21 October 2014 / Accepted: 18 November 2014 / Published: 26 November 2014
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biological Invasions)
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Abstract

Understanding the individual and interactive roles of consumer species is more than academic when the host plant is a subject of intense conservation interest. In a mesocosm experiment, we compared effects of common invertebrate grazers in San Francisco Bay seagrass (Zostera marina, eelgrass) beds, finding that some species (a native opisthobranch, Phyllaplysia taylori; a native isopod, Idotea resecata; and an introduced gastropod, Ilyanassa obsoleta) enhanced eelgrass growth through removal of epiphytic algae, as is often predicted for small invertebrate grazers on seagrasses, while one (an introduced caprellid amphipod, Caprella cf. drepanochir) had neutral effects. In contrast, the putatively-introduced gammaridean amphipod, Ampithoe valida, had strong negative effects on eelgrass (in addition to epiphytes) through consumption, as we had previously observed in the field during restoration programs. We tested whether other common grazer species could influence the effects of the eelgrass-grazing Ampithoe, and found that Idotea induced production of phenolic compounds and limited eelgrass damage by Ampithoe, without affecting Ampithoe abundance. These results have implications for restoration strategies, and contribute to a growing awareness of the importance of trait-mediated indirect grazer interactions through grazer-induced changes in plant traits, providing the first example in a seagrass system. View Full-Text
Keywords: assembly; induction; priority effect; indirect interaction; phenolic; restoration; invasive species; Ampithoe valida; Idotea resecata; Zostera marina assembly; induction; priority effect; indirect interaction; phenolic; restoration; invasive species; Ampithoe valida; Idotea resecata; Zostera marina
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Lewis, J.T.; Boyer, K.E. Grazer Functional Roles, Induced Defenses, and Indirect Interactions: Implications for Eelgrass Restoration in San Francisco Bay. Diversity 2014, 6, 751-770.

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