Laboratory experiments conducted during 1987 on Appledore Island, Maine, USA, tested whether feeding preference or the absence of an attractant was the cause for the occurrence of beds of Codium fragile ssp. tomentosoides (herein referred to as "Codium fragile") within rocky barrens grazed clear of kelp by the sea urchin Strongylocentrotus droebachiensis. Consumption of C. fragile in single-diet experiments (1 seaweed/sea urchin) was highly variable and was not significantly different from that for several other seaweeds (Agarum cribrosum, Ascophyllum nodosum, Chondrus crispus, and Laminana saccharina) important in the field diet of the green sea urchin. In multiple-diet experiments (5 seaweeds/sea urchin) significantly less Codium fragile was eaten than Chondrus crispus, but significantly more Codium fragile was eaten than A. cribrosum. Chemosensory experiments suggest that C. fragile does not attract the sea urchin. Sea urchins are unable to detect C. fragile but will eat it when they come in contact with it.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
- Aquatic Science