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Effect of predator–prey and competitive interactions on size at emergence in the black-lip abalone Haliotis rubra in a Tasmanian MPA


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Pederson, HG, Barrett, NS, Buxton, CD and Frusher, SD 2008 , 'Effect of predator–prey and competitive interactions on size at emergence in the black-lip abalone Haliotis rubra in a Tasmanian MPA' , Marine Ecology Progress Series, vol. 366 , pp. 91-98 , doi: 10.3354/meps07521.

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Following more than a decade of protection from fishing activity, the direct and indirect
effects of fishing on benthic community structure are becoming apparent inside no-take marine
protected areas (MPAs) on Tasmania’s east coast. Gradual increases in the abundance and average
size of putative abalone predators inside the no-take Maria Island Marine Reserve (MIMR) have
coincided with increases in the minimum size of the emergent abalone Haliotis rubra. This suggests
that the threat of predation may influence the structuring of abalone populations. The abundance of
emergent abalone was negatively associated with predator abundance, especially the rock lobster
Jasus edwardsii, inside the MPA and in adjacent fished areas. Abalone leave cryptic habitat at
smaller sizes in fished areas compared to abalone inside the MPA. Although the patterns in abalone
size at emergence (SAE) were strongly correlated with rock lobster abundance and average size, the
abundance of other predators (demersal predatory fish and crabs) or competitors (sea urchins) did not
influence the patterns in abalone SAE. However, predation mortality in isolation could not account
for the differences we observed in abalone size frequency distributions between MPA and adjacent
fished locations. We suggest that a combination of factors including predation, intra and interspecific
competitive interactions are responsible for patterns in abalone SAE.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Pederson, HG and Barrett, NS and Buxton, CD and Frusher, SD
Keywords: Abalone · Size at emergence · SAE · Predator–prey interactions · Behaviour · Marine protected areas · MPAs · Haliotis rubra
Journal or Publication Title: Marine Ecology Progress Series
ISSN: 0171-8630
DOI / ID Number: 10.3354/meps07521
Additional Information:

Copyright © 2008 Inter-Research.

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