Eutrophication-induced changes in benthic algae affect the behaviour and fitness of the marine amphipod Gammarus locusta

Patrik Kraufvelin, Sonja Salovius-Lauren, H Christie, FE Moy, R Karez, MF Pedersen

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92 Citations (Scopus)


This study, conducted in mesocosms, natural field sites, and in laboratory aquaria, showed that eutrophication altered the nutrient status and dominance patterns among marine macroalgae, which in turn, stimulated gammaridean density. Gammaridean abundance correlated positively with both nutrient addition and the amount of green algae (also stimulated by nutrient enrichment). Path analysis indicated that the direct effect of nutrients on gammaridean density was of less importance than the indirect effect through increased production of green algae. In cage colonisation experiments, either in the field or in a control mesocosm kept under ambient nutrient conditions, more gammarids colonised nutrient enriched algae (E-algae) than algae with ambient nutrient levels (A-algae). Gammarus locusta generally grew faster on nutrient enriched algal specimens and when reared on green rather than on brown algae (fucoids). The nutrient status of periphytic algae did not affect gammaridean growth significantly, but the number of egg-carrying females (and thus egg production) was significantly higher among gammarids reared on E-periphyton. The gammaridean habitat preference order (red > green > brown > periphyton) was almost the reverse of their growth rate in feeding assays (periphyton > green > brown). This implies that macroalgae may be more important as a habitat than as a food source for these animals, which then have to become mobile in search of optimal food items. In this process, algal nutrient content was important as the gammarids in our Study actively chose high quality nutrient-rich food, which, in addition, increased their fitness. stimulated growth rates and egg production may ultimately lead to population increase, which, combined with the preference for high nutrient food items may dampen the initial effect of nutrient enrichment (i.e. blooms of green macroalgae) in shallow coastal waters. (c) 2005 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Pages (from-to)199–209
Number of pages11
JournalAquatic Botany
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2006
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • coastal eutrophication
  • grazing
  • mesocosm
  • nutrient enrichment
  • plant-animal interaction
  • rocky shore

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