Scientia Marina, Vol 73, No 1 (2009)

Space utilisation patterns of bryozoans on the Patagonian scallop Psychrochlamys patagonica

Juan López Gappa
Museo Argentino de Ciencias Naturales “Bernardino Rivadavia”, Argentina

Néstor A. Landoni
Museo Argentino de Ciencias Naturales “Bernardino Rivadavia”, Argentina


We studied the bryozoan assemblage encrusting valves of the Patagonian scallop, Psychrochlamys patagonica, in 4 beds distributed along the continental shelf off Argentina to analyse (a) the distribution pattern of bryozoan colonies in different zones of the valves, (b) the influence of interspecific competition on assemblage composition, (c) whether encrusting species display different space utilisation strategies, and (d) whether bryozoan species richness and number of colonies vary in relation to host size. The assemblage was composed of 22 taxa and was dominated by Arachnopusia monoceros and Osthimosia eatonensis, which were at least one order of magnitude more abundant than any other species. Multivariate analyses based on coverage data of multiserial bryozoans separated the beds according to species richness rather than to geographic proximity and showed significant differences in assemblage structure between upper (left) and lower (right) valves and among beds. Competitive interactions occurred almost exclusively on lower valves, and more frequently in peripheral zones than in central zones of these valves. Correlations between valve area and number of bryozoan colonies, coverage and species richness were low but significant. Bryozoans were significantly more frequent, larger, and taxonomically diverse on lower valves than on upper valves. The uniserial colonies of Neothoa cf. chiloensis, the weakest bryozoan competitor, were as frequent in central zones as they were in peripheral zones, and usually spread out along channels on the scallop surface. This fugitive species was partially covered by multiserial colonies, but managed to persist even in peripheral areas of the lower valves.


Bryozoa; Patagonian scallop; Psychrochlamys patagonica; interspecific competition; space utilisation patterns; Patagonian shelf; SW Atlantic

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