Mussel beds in the intertidal of subtropical South America are known to harbour a large number of invertebrates, particularly polychaetes. This paper presents a quantitative analysis of the patterns of spatial overlap and coexistence in an assemblage of polychaetes associated with mussel beds in a rocky intertidal habitat on the Pacific coast of Peru. Mussel beds are made up of two zones in the intertidal: the lower, more extensive zone formed by Semimytilus algosus and the upper zone formed by Perumytilus purpuratus. Null models were employed to assess the magnitude of spatial overlap between pairs of taxa encompassing a total of seven taxonomic groups. Two taxa belonging to the same functional group tended to be spatially segregated in the Semimytilus bed: Pseudonereis vs. Halosydna (large free-ranging predators) and Scoloplos vs. Mediomastus (deposit feeders), with further segregating tendencies between Pseudonereis and Mediomastus, and between Halosydna and Scoloplos. Small-sized, free-ranging 'Typosyllis' and the bottom-dwelling scavenging predator Lumbrineris were also spatially associated. Thus, this polychaete assemblage appears to be loosely organised around groupings of taxa which are somewhat different in ecological traits and form mosaic patterns of distribution with reduced overlap within the Semimytilus bed. These relationships were weak to non-existent in the upper, drier Perumytilus habitat where polychaete density was low.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
- Aquatic Science