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      Ontogenetic habitat shift, population growth, and burrowing behavior of the Indo-Pacific beach star, Archaster typicus (Echinodermata; Asteroidea)

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          Archaster typicus, a common sea star in Indo-Pacific regions, has been a target for the ornamental trade, even though little is known about its population biology. Spatial and temporal patterns of abundance and size structure of A. typicus were studied in the Davao Gulf, the Philippines (125°42.7′E, 7°0.6′N), from February 2008 to December 2009. Specimens of A. typicus were associated with intertidal mangrove prop roots, seagrass meadows, sandy beaches, and shoals. Among prop roots, specimens were significantly smaller and had highest densities (131 ind. m −2) between November and March. High organic matter in sediment and a relatively low predation rate seemed to support juvenile life among mangroves. Size and density analyses provided evidence that individuals gradually move to seagrass, sandy habitats, and shoals as they age. Specimens were significantly larger at a shoal (maximum radius R = 81 mm). New recruits were found between August and November in both 2008 and 2009. Timing of recruitment and population size frequencies confirmed a seasonal reproductive cycle. Juveniles had relatively high growth rates (2–7 mm month −1) and may reach an R of 20–25 mm after 1 year. Growth rates of larger specimens ( R > 30 mm) were generally <2 mm month −1. The activity pattern of A. typicus was related to the tidal phase and not to time of day: Specimens moved over the sediment surface during low tides and were burrowed during high tides possibly avoiding predation. This is one of the first studies to document an ontogenetic habitat shift for sea stars and provides new biological information as a basis for management of harvested A. typicus populations.

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          Most cited references 27

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          The habitat function of mangroves for terrestrial and marine fauna: A review

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            Mating behaviour and reproductive cycle of Archaster typicus (Echinodermata: Asteroidea)

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              Daily burrowing cycle and feeding activity of juvenile sea cucumbers Holothuria scabra in response to environmental factors


                Author and article information

                Mar Biol
                Mar. Biol
                Marine Biology
                Springer-Verlag (Berlin/Heidelberg )
                11 December 2010
                11 December 2010
                : 158
                : 639-648
                [ ]Research, Extension and Production Office, Davao del Norte State College, New Visayas, 8105 Panabo City, The Philippines
                [ ]German Development Service–DED, 11th Floor PDCP Bank Center Building, VA Rufino Corner LP Leviste Streets, Salcedo Village, 1227 Makati, The Philippines
                [ ]Department of Marine Zoology, Netherlands Centre for Biodiversity Naturalis, P.O. Box 9517, 2300 RA Leiden, The Netherlands
                [ ]Department of Environmental Science, Radboud University, P.O. Box 9010, 6500 GL Nijmegen, The Netherlands
                Author notes

                Communicated by J. P. Grassle.

                © The Author(s) 2010
                Original Paper
                Custom metadata
                © Springer-Verlag 2011


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