Ecological Observations on the Recent Articulate Brachiopod Argyrotheca bermudana Dall from the Bermuda Platform
Abstract:The occurrence and life habits of the diminutive articulate brachiopod Argyrotheca bermudana have been investigated along a general NW-SE traverse across the Bermuda Platform, incorporating all seven biotopes recognized by Upchurch (1970). Sediment samples indicate that brachiopod tests comprise a consistent though minor (<1%) fraction in reefal shoal sediments, but are totally absent from lagoonal sediments.
Preliminary transects reveal that in the reef-front terrace, north reef and central and south reef biotopes, A. bermudana is cryptic in habit, occurring on the undersides of the foliaceous hermatypic corals Montastrea cavernosa (L.), M. annularis (Ellis and Solander), and Agaricia fragilis Dana. The main host coral for brachiopods on the south shore reefs and associated reef-front terrace is M. cavernosa, on the north reef-front terrace, north and central reefs it is M. annularis, while A. fragilis is more important on the lagoonal and near-shore reefs.
Brachiopod densities generally decrease shorewards from the edge of the Platform. The distribution and density of brachiopods appears to be controlled primarily by the relative abundance of the host corals and their growth form, although other limiting factors may be at work. Clumped distributions are common, probably the result of brooded larvae and intense competition for living space. Inter-island areas such as Castle Harbor and Harrington Sound are virtually devoid of brachiopods, although a relict population exists marginally in an unusual sub-boulder habitat in land-locked Walsingham Pond.
Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: April 1, 1975
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