Life strategies of isopods under conditions of the Black Sea fouling community

  • A. Y. Varigin Institute of Marine Biology of NASU
Keywords: isopods, life strategy, ecological niche, fouling community


The main features of the life strategies of mass species of isopod Idotea balthica basteri (Pallas, 1772) and Lekanesphaera monodi (Arcangeli, 1934) living in fouling communities of the coastal zone of the Odessa Bay, the Black Sea, are determined. Highdegree of eurybiontity of these species, allowing them to successfully resist the effects of sharp fluctuations in abiotic environmental factors in the coastal zone,is noted. Comparison of the elements of life strategies ofI. balthica basteri and L. monodi in the fouling community is made. The balance of interspecific relationships of these species within the fouling community is recorded. Competitive relations ofI. balthica basteri and L. monodi are diffuse, reflecting relatively weak in strength interspecific interactions. It is shown that the ecological niches of these species overlap only on the axis of the habitat. Food competition between them has been greatly weakened due to trophic specialization of each species, owing to the features of the functional morphology of their mouthparts. Main elements of their life cycles associated with periods of mass reproduction and migration from the coastal zone are separated in time. It is found that both species exhibit a fairly high degree of care for their offsprings. Comparison of annual biomass changeability of both species, reflecting the characteristics of their reproductive cycle in fouling communities,is made. It is shown that these species reach their maximum biomass in different seasons. We also noted their pronounced protective coloration integument of the body, which is the passive way of protection from predators. Life strategies ofI. balthica basteri and L. monodi proved to be quite effective, as evidenced by their massive development in the fouling community of the Odessa Bay.


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