Next Article in Journal
Lingering Impacts of Hurricane Hugo on Rhizophora mangle (Red Mangrove) Population Genetics on St. John, USVI
Next Article in Special Issue
Biogeographical Patterns of Endolithic Infestation in an Invasive and an Indigenous Intertidal Marine Ecosystem Engineer
Previous Article in Journal
Implications of Spatial Habitat Diversity on Diet Selection of European Bison and Przewalski’s Horses in a Rewilding Area
Previous Article in Special Issue
Communities and Attachment Networks Associated with Primary, Secondary and Alternative Foundation Species; A Case Study of Stressed and Disturbed Stands of Southern Bull Kelp
Article Menu
Issue 4 (April) cover image

Export Article

Open AccessArticle

Ecosystem Engineering by Thalassinidean Crustaceans: Response Variability, Contextual Dependencies and Perspectives on Future Research

Marine Research Institute, Department of Biological Sciences, University of Cape Town, Private Bag X3, Rondebosch 7701, Cape Town, South Africa
Diversity 2019, 11(4), 64; https://doi.org/10.3390/d11040064
Received: 18 March 2019 / Revised: 15 April 2019 / Accepted: 15 April 2019 / Published: 19 April 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Diversity of Ecosystem Engineers in the World Coasts and Oceans)
  |  
PDF [983 KB, uploaded 19 April 2019]
  |  

Abstract

Ecological functions in marine sedimentary habitats are greatly influenced by bio-engineering organisms. Thalassinidean crustaceans are particularly important in this regard, given their density, spatial occupancy and burrowing depths. These features coupled with high per capita engineering rates (bioturbation mainly) and the ability to modulate multiple resources simultaneously, place thalassinids amongst the most influential of ecosystem engineers in marine ecosystems. Research on these organisms has focused on mechanisms by which engineering effects are propagated, whilst drawing attention to the impact of ecosystem modification on ecological processes. However, disparities in the outcomes of global research suggest that complex dependencies underpin ecological responses to thalassinideans that we do not yet fully understand. It is in this context that this review draws attention to some of the dependencies in question, specifically by using existing models and hypotheses to (i) demonstrate how these dependencies can alter ecological responses to ecosystem engineering by thalassinids, and (ii) explain variability observed in outcomes of existing research. This review also shows the potential for explicit inclusion of such dependencies in future research to generate new knowledge on thalassinidean ecosystem engineering, from both fundamental and global change perspectives. More broadly, this review is a contribution towards advancing a predictive and mechanistic understanding of thalassinidean ecosystem engineering, in which biotic and abiotic dependencies are integrated. View Full-Text
Keywords: bioengineering; soft-sediments; contextual dependencies; resource flows; community responses; endobenthic bioengineering; soft-sediments; contextual dependencies; resource flows; community responses; endobenthic
Figures

Figure 1

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).
SciFeed

Share & Cite This Article

MDPI and ACS Style

Pillay, D. Ecosystem Engineering by Thalassinidean Crustaceans: Response Variability, Contextual Dependencies and Perspectives on Future Research. Diversity 2019, 11, 64.

Show more citation formats Show less citations formats

Note that from the first issue of 2016, MDPI journals use article numbers instead of page numbers. See further details here.

Related Articles

Article Metrics

Article Access Statistics

1

Comments

[Return to top]
Diversity EISSN 1424-2818 Published by MDPI AG, Basel, Switzerland RSS E-Mail Table of Contents Alert
Back to Top