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Studies of Food Preference in Algivorous Invertebrates of Southern California Kelp Beds

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Title:Studies of Food Preference in Algivorous Invertebrates of Southern California Kelp Beds
Authors:Leighton, David L.
Date Issued:Jan 1966
Publisher:University of Hawai'i Press
Citation:Leighton DL. 1966. Studies of food preference in algivorous invertebrates of southern California kelp beds. Pac Sci 20(1): 104-113.
Abstract:Stands of the giant kelp, Macrocystis pyrifera, frequently suffer attack
by grazing organisms and in some cases complete destruction has been observed. The
present investigation of the feeding habits of grazing organisms is primarily concerned
with food preferences. Discrimination in choice of plant foods was examined
in 11 common invertebrate species of the sublittoral rock bottom fauna of southern
California by measuring the differential consumption of seven common algal species
in the laboratory. The algae were selected as representing the major floral elements
of the kelp bed (Macrocystis pyrifera) community. All of the grazers exhibited high
degrees of preference for Macrocystis. Shallow water grazers revealed stronger preferences
for Egregia than for Macrocystis. Herbivores found at greater depths indicated
strongest preferences for Macrocystis, Laminaria, and Pterygophora, plants
that are generally common at these depths . The deepest-living herbivore, Lytechinus,
showed greatest preference for a red alga, Gigartina; red algae generally supplant
brown algae in dominance at greater depths. Some of the invertebrates refused certain
of the marine plants. A specific distaste factor may exist in these cases.
Appears in Collections: Pacific Science Volume 20, Number 1, 1966

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