TitleGENERALIZING FROM EXPERIMENTS - IS PREDATION STRONG OR WEAK IN THE NEW-ENGLAND ROCKY INTERTIDAL
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication1991
AuthorsMenge, B
JournalOecologia
Volume88
Pagination1-8
Type of ArticleJournal Article
ISSN0029-8549
Abstract

Petraitis (1990) recently critized previous generalizations regarding the effects of predation in the New England rocky intertidal region (e.g., Menge 1976; Lubchenco and Menge 1978). Contrary to Lubchenco's and my conclusions, Petraitis concluded that (1) barnacles and not mussels are the favored prey of dogwhelks and (2) barnacles and not dogwhelks control mussel abundances in the mid and low rocky intertidal region. I provide evidence that these criticisms are unwarranted. First, Lubchenco and I never claimed that diet composition reflected prey preference. Moreover, predators can influence prey abundance without preferring the prey. Hence, claims regarding preferences have no bearing on our conclusions. Second, Petraitis' experiments do not invalidate Lubchenco's and my experimental results. Reanalyses of our experimental data support the earlier conclusion that at wave-sheltered sites, whelks reduce the abundance of mussels independently of barnacle abundances. Further, at all but one of Lubchenco's and my study sites, predator densities were higher than at Petraitis' site. Thus, the absence of a predator effect in Petraitis's study was most likely due to low predator density rather than a lack of generality of our earlier results. This re-evaluation therefore suggests that within a broader conceptual framework, Petraitis' apparently divergent results are actually consistent with ours.

URL<Go to ISI>://WOS:A1991GG56200001
DOI10.1007/bf00328396