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Are grapsid crabs keystone species in tropical mangroves?

McGuinness, KA, Gray, A and Salgado-Kent, CP (2005). Are grapsid crabs keystone species in tropical mangroves?. In: 43rd Annual Conference of the Australian Marine Sciences Association, Darwin, 11-13 July 2005.

Document type: Conference Paper
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Author McGuinness, KA
Gray, A
Salgado-Kent, CP
Title Are grapsid crabs keystone species in tropical mangroves?
Conference Name 43rd Annual Conference of the Australian Marine Sciences Association
Conference Location Darwin
Conference Dates 11-13 July 2005
Publication Year 2005
Field of Research 0602 - Ecology
HERDC Category E1 - Conference Publication (DEST)
Abstract Grapsid crabs have been referred to as “keystone species” in the mangrove forests of tropical Australia and south-east Asia. We used experiments and sampling studies to test the effects of grapsids, primarily Neosarmatium meinerti, on ecological processes in the mangrove forests around Darwin Harbour. Although information on other grapsids is limited, there was clear evidence that N. meinerti, as a consumer, did have significant effects. It selectively attacks propagules of particular mangrove species, reduces the survival of seedlings in some assemblages and appears to reduce the amount of litter on the forest floor. Thus, N. meinerti appears to influence key ecological processes structuring these mangrove ecosystems, but the question of whether or not it is a “keystone species” requires more information regarding the strength of the interactions and effects, and determination of the necessity of the species to the ecological organization of the system.
 
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Created: Tue, 17 Feb 2009, 12:10:18 CST