The effects of spatial habitat structure on population variability of freshwater snails

Takayuki Gotoh, Masakado Kawata

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Experiments were conducted to examine the effects of a habitat's spatial structure on population variability in two species of freshwater snails (Physa acuta and Austropeplea ollula). To alter the spatial structure of the habitat, vinyl chloride plates were hung in experimental tanks, providing three types of spatial structure: Complex structure, Simple structure and Control (no structure). In Experiment 1, the average number of individuals in a tank did not differ among the three types of structure 2 months after the introduction of the snails, but the variability of the number of individuals in the Complex structure tanks was lowest, whereas the variability in the Control tanks was highest. In Experiment 2, in addition to the spatial structure of the habitat, three types of species interaction were designed as experimental treatments: only P. acuta was introduced into the tanks (P. acuta tanks), only A. ollula was introduced into the tanks (A. ollula tanks) and both P. acuta and A. ollula were introduced into the tanks (two-species tanks). For the P. acuta tanks, the variability of the number of P. acuta individuals in the Complex structure tanks was lowest, and the variability in the Control tanks was highest when the effect of the number of individuals in a tank was subtracted. For the A. ollula tanks and the two-species tanks, there were no significant differences in the variability of the population size among the different treatments of spatial structure. The spatial distribution of P. acuta was more uniform than the distribution of A. ollula on the plates of complex structure. Our results indicate that the spatial structure of the habitat influences the variability of population size (the variance of the number of individuals in different populations during the earlier period after the introduction of the snails), but the effects depend on the spatial behavior of individuals and the interaction with other species.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)157-169
Number of pages13
JournalHydrobiologia
Volume429
Issue number1-3
Publication statusPublished - 2000 Sep 23

Keywords

  • Austropeplea ollula
  • Physa acuta
  • Population variability
  • Snails
  • Spatial structure

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aquatic Science

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