Every rule has an exception: A cheater in the community-wide mutualism in antarctic seaweed forests

Academic Article


  • Dense macroalgal forests on the Western Antarctic Peninsula serve important ecological roles both in terms of considerable biomass for primary production as well as in being ecosystem engineers. Their function within the Antarctic ecosystem has been described as a crucial member of a community-wide mutualism which benefits macroalgal species and dense assemblages of associated amphipod grazers. However, there is a cheater within the system that can feed on one of the most highly chemically defended macroalgal hosts. The amphipod Paradexamine fissicauda has been found to readily consume the finely branched red macroalga Plocamium cartilagineum. This amphipod grazer not only feeds on its host, but also appears to sequester its host's chemical defenses for its own utilization. This review summarizes what we know about both of these exceptions to the community-wide mutualism.
  • Authors

    Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Heiser S; Amsler CD; McClintock JB; Shilling AJ; Baker BJ
  • Start Page

  • 1358
  • End Page

  • 1368
  • Volume

  • 60
  • Issue

  • 6