Amphipods exclude filamentous algae from the Western Antarctic Peninsula benthos: Experimental evidence

Academic Article


  • Hard bottom, subtidal communities along the Western Antarctic Peninsula are dominated by forests of large, chemically defended macroalgae that support a very dense assemblage of amphipods. Free-living filamentous algae are rare in the subtidal, but filamentous algal endophytes are common in many of the larger macroalgae, both likely as the result of amphipod grazing pressure. Filamentous algae are common in the intertidal, but primarily in the upper intertidal and on high-energy shores where amphipods are likely to be excluded much of the time. We tested the hypothesis that free-living, filamentous algae would be rapidly consumed if transplanted from the intertidal to the subtidal, and our results clearly supported this hypothesis. The filamentous, intertidal green alga Cladophora repens was transplanted to the benthos in 6 different macroalgal habitats. Control algae were transplanted in 3 m deeper waters nearby (usually 12 m or less laterally) but suspended 3 m off the bottom where amphipods are absent or rare. Overall consumption during approximately 6 h on the bottom ranged from 22 to 98% of the initial biomass, while significantly less biomass loss occurred in the water column. © 2011 Springer-Verlag.
  • Published In

  • Polar Biology  Journal
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Amsler CD; McClintock JB; Baker BJ
  • Start Page

  • 171
  • End Page

  • 177
  • Volume

  • 35
  • Issue

  • 2