The Strait of Messina (Sicily, Italy) attracts the interest of marine ecologists for the presence of a large variety of habitat and mutually-interacting communities. Among them, beachrock formations, despite their wide geographic distribution, which also includes the Mediterranean area, have been poorly investigated from the biotic viewpoint. In this paper, the spatial and seasonal variability of benthic megafauna from the Messina microtidal beachrock is described. Combining in situ collected data (measurements of abiotic parameters and underwater visual census) with theoretical post-processing analyses (analysis of similarity percentages and cluster analysis), we deduced the possibility to model the dynamics observed between the most dominant species, a top snail, Phorcus turbinatus (Born, 1778), and a hermit crab, Clibanarius erythropus (Latreille, 1818), in terms of a prey-predator interaction. These species gave rise to different intriguing dynamical regimes (including periodic oscillations) that were qualitatively captured by a mathematical model focused on the respective trophic chain levels. The identification of all model parameters and the use of numerical simulations complemented the above analysis and allowed to gain more insights into the complex dynamics of these oligotypic communities and on the most relevant factors determining the ecosystem equilibria.

Modelling prey-predator interactions in Messina beachrock pools

Savoca S.
Primo
Writing – Original Draft Preparation
;
Grifo' G.
;
Panarello G.;Albano M.;Giacobbe S.;Capillo G.
Conceptualization
;
Spano N.;Consolo G.
2020

Abstract

The Strait of Messina (Sicily, Italy) attracts the interest of marine ecologists for the presence of a large variety of habitat and mutually-interacting communities. Among them, beachrock formations, despite their wide geographic distribution, which also includes the Mediterranean area, have been poorly investigated from the biotic viewpoint. In this paper, the spatial and seasonal variability of benthic megafauna from the Messina microtidal beachrock is described. Combining in situ collected data (measurements of abiotic parameters and underwater visual census) with theoretical post-processing analyses (analysis of similarity percentages and cluster analysis), we deduced the possibility to model the dynamics observed between the most dominant species, a top snail, Phorcus turbinatus (Born, 1778), and a hermit crab, Clibanarius erythropus (Latreille, 1818), in terms of a prey-predator interaction. These species gave rise to different intriguing dynamical regimes (including periodic oscillations) that were qualitatively captured by a mathematical model focused on the respective trophic chain levels. The identification of all model parameters and the use of numerical simulations complemented the above analysis and allowed to gain more insights into the complex dynamics of these oligotypic communities and on the most relevant factors determining the ecosystem equilibria.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11570/3177443
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