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Free Content Effect of the Anemone Corynactis Californica on Subtidal Predation by Sea Stars in the Southern California Bight

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The density of the very abundant fixed clam Chama arcana and the corallimorpharian Corynactis californica (hereafter Corynactis) both increase with elevation above the sand on subtidal rock walls in the southern California bight. Since Corynactis repels sea stars and sea stars prey on C. arcana, it seemed possible that this clam's distribution might be a result of Corynactis interference with sea star predation. Field observations were made on Corynactis, the two most common sea stars (Pisaster giganteus and P. ochraceus), and C. arcana. These observations showed that the clam was much more abundant in Corynactis aggregations and that the proportion of the C. arcana population under attack by P. giganteus and P. ochraceus within Corynactis aggregations was smaller than the proportion ofthe population under attack outside of these aggregations. Field observations also showed that P. ochraceus avoided Corynactis aggregations, but that Pisaster giganteus did not. Laboratory experiments showed that both sea stars, and the snail Kelletia kelletii, fed slowly in artificial patches of Corynactis. These experiments also showed that P. giganteus moved less frequently in Corynactis patches, but that P. ochraceus avoided these patches completely. The laboratory data were consistent with the observed field distributions of the sea stars, and all observations were consistent with the hypothesis that C. arcana was more successful in the presence of Corynactis because this anemone slowed predation by P. giganteus and P. ochraceus.

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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 1991-05-01

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  • The Bulletin of Marine Science is dedicated to the dissemination of high quality research from the world's oceans. All aspects of marine science are treated by the Bulletin of Marine Science, including papers in marine biology, biological oceanography, fisheries, marine affairs, applied marine physics, marine geology and geophysics, marine and atmospheric chemistry, and meteorology and physical oceanography.
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