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The University of Southampton
Institute for Life Sciences

Research project: Food-refuge interactions in periwinkles - Dormant - Dormant

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A field-experimental test of the theoretical prediction that populations can benefit directly from coarse-grain heterogeneity in the distribution of limiting resources.

Gathering thinly distributed resources into clumps may create habitable pockets for consumers, across a region that would otherwise support none were the same total resources spread evenly (Doncaster, Pound & Cox 2003). We use a large-scale field experiment to test this theoretical prediction against the standard model that populations suffer from habitat fragmentation. We monitor population densities of periwinkles (Melarhaphe neritoides) and biomass of their biofilm food on rocky shore habitat in plots with patchy or evenly distributed refuge holes. This design allows us to explore the interacting effects of food consumption and refuge occupancy on population density.

This project is a collaboration between Dr Patrick Doncaster (SBS), Prof Steve Hawkins (SOES) and Prof Richard Thompson (Uni. Plymouth).

Funding: NERC Standard Grant NE/C003705/1 (2006-2009)

Related research groups

Environmental Biosciences

Key Publications

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