Feeding ecology of the seagrass-grazing nerite Smaragdia souverbiana (Montrouzier, 1863) in subtropical seagrass beds of eastern Australia

Rossini, Renee, Rueda, Jose Luis and Tibbetts, Ian (2014) Feeding ecology of the seagrass-grazing nerite Smaragdia souverbiana (Montrouzier, 1863) in subtropical seagrass beds of eastern Australia. Journal of Molluscan Studies, 80 2: 139-147. doi:10.1093/mollus/eyu003


Author Rossini, Renee
Rueda, Jose Luis
Tibbetts, Ian
Title Feeding ecology of the seagrass-grazing nerite Smaragdia souverbiana (Montrouzier, 1863) in subtropical seagrass beds of eastern Australia
Journal name Journal of Molluscan Studies   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0260-1230
1464-3766
Publication date 2014-01-01
Year available 2014
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1093/mollus/eyu003
Open Access Status DOI
Volume 80
Issue 2
Start page 139
End page 147
Total pages 9
Place of publication Oxford, United Kingdom
Publisher Oxford University Press
Language eng
Abstract By amalgamating all seagrass-associated grazing invertebrates into an epiphyte-feeding guild, the currently accepted model of seagrass trophic dynamics ignores the diverse range of invertebrates that feed directly on, and do considerable damage to, seagrasses. Of the wide range of invertebrates documented to damage seagrass directly, the gastropod genus Smaragdia has adaptations and ecology that suggests it could be a specialized seagrass-feeding group, of which at least two species are known preferentially to consume seagrass. This paper investigated the dietary associations of Smaragdia souverbiana, one of the most widely distributed but least studied species of the genus, in the subtropical eastern Australian part of its range. Using field-based assessments of grazing damage and targeted laboratory feeding trials, we assessed the dietary associations, digestive ability and feeding preferences of S. souverbiana with local seagrasses (Halophila ovalis, Zostera capricorni and Cymodocea serrulata). We found that this species consumed and damaged all available species, but showed a strong preference for the most abundant and moderately digestible Z. capricorni. Although it avoided seagrass bearing a high epiphyte load in a laboratory context, considerable amounts of epiphytic material were found in the faeces of field-caught individuals. Grazing and digestibility of seagrass cells was higher in Z. capricorni and H. ovalis, and the former was preferred when both were available. This study adds to the growing body of literature demonstrating that S. souverbiana - and potentially many other grazing invertebrates - cause considerable damage to seagrasses directly, rather than targeting epiphytes.
Keyword Marine & Freshwater Biology
Zoology
Marine & Freshwater Biology
Zoology
MARINE & FRESHWATER BIOLOGY
ZOOLOGY
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2015 Collection
School of Biological Sciences Publications
 
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