In marine sediments, cages, are widely used to detect effects of predation on infauna. Artifacts due to the use of cages have been, instead, poorly estimated. In this study we have analysed the changes in macrofauna and in sediment composition when cages of different mesh sizes are used to exclude predators. In a shallow micro-tidal flat, the effect of three mesh sizes (2, 6 and 18 mm) was tested on sediment and macrofauna, using cages that excluded predators (EC), partial cages (PC) and natural sediment (un-caged plots, UC). PC allowed the predators to feed on the sediment, but modified the sediment similarly to the complete cages. Changes were measured for the abundance and species composition of macrofauna and for sediment total organic matter (TOM), chlorophyll-a, proteins and water content. The use of cages did not alter TOM and water content, whereas chlorophyll-a and phaeopigments were more abundant under the cages. The deep-burrowing shrimp Upogebia pusilla also increased under cages of any mesh-size. There was, instead, an effect on the abundance of macrofauna only when the smallest mesh size was used. Surprisingly, the exclusion of predators decreased the abundances of Tanais dulongii, Oligochaetes, Brania oculata, whereas the abundance of Aphelochaeta marionii changed when both PC and EC were put in the sediment. Collectively, all these findings indicated that for surface animals the use of small mesh sizes can bias the interpretation of results.

Caging experiments: relationship between mesh size and artifacts

LARDICCI, CLAUDIO
2006-01-01

Abstract

In marine sediments, cages, are widely used to detect effects of predation on infauna. Artifacts due to the use of cages have been, instead, poorly estimated. In this study we have analysed the changes in macrofauna and in sediment composition when cages of different mesh sizes are used to exclude predators. In a shallow micro-tidal flat, the effect of three mesh sizes (2, 6 and 18 mm) was tested on sediment and macrofauna, using cages that excluded predators (EC), partial cages (PC) and natural sediment (un-caged plots, UC). PC allowed the predators to feed on the sediment, but modified the sediment similarly to the complete cages. Changes were measured for the abundance and species composition of macrofauna and for sediment total organic matter (TOM), chlorophyll-a, proteins and water content. The use of cages did not alter TOM and water content, whereas chlorophyll-a and phaeopigments were more abundant under the cages. The deep-burrowing shrimp Upogebia pusilla also increased under cages of any mesh-size. There was, instead, an effect on the abundance of macrofauna only when the smallest mesh size was used. Surprisingly, the exclusion of predators decreased the abundances of Tanais dulongii, Oligochaetes, Brania oculata, whereas the abundance of Aphelochaeta marionii changed when both PC and EC were put in the sediment. Collectively, all these findings indicated that for surface animals the use of small mesh sizes can bias the interpretation of results.
2006
Como, S; Rossi, F; Lardicci, Claudio
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11568/100833
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