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Rocky Intertidal Food Web

Last updated about 2 years ago

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    Larus argentatus

    Herring Gull

    Consumer. Omnivore. Eats mussels, crabs, sea urchins, fish, insects, smaller seabirds, and even on adults, young, and eggs of other gulls.

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    Homo sapiens

    Human

    Consumer. Apex predator. Humans are voracious consumers of many plants and animals.

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    Pholis gunnellus

    Butterfish

    Consumer. Carnivore. Feeds on small crustaceans, polychaetes, mollusks and fish eggs.

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    Fundulus heteroclitus

    Astronaut Fish

    Consumer: Omnivore. Mummichogs consume phytoplankton, mollusks, crustaceans, insect larvae, eggs of their own species, and vegetation such as eel grass.

  • 21588_88_88 Biota > Thalassiosiraceae Lebour 1930

    Thalassiosira

    Producer. Phytoplankton are important energy sources for suspension feeders like Blue Mussels, Acorn Barnacles and other organisms.

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    Ulva lactuca

    Green Laver

    Producer. Green algae like this one grow in a seasonal pattern, taking advantage of high light and nutrient levels in the spring and summer to flourish, but are less abundant in the fall and winter. Green algae is usually not chemically defended like brown algae, and is therefore a preferred food source for many intertidal herbivores.

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    Chondrus crispus

    Irish Moss

    Producer. Red pigments in this seaweed allow it to capture different wavelengths of light than green and brown algae, so that it can live in deeper water, and live underneath large canopy forming algae.

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    Ascophyllum nodosum

    Rockweed

    Producer. This brown seaweed forms dense canopies, providing both habitat and food for other intertidal organisms. Brown seaweeds like this one sometimes produce herbivore defense compounds, making them less palatable to herbivores.

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    Fucus vesiculosus

    Bladder Wrack

    Producer. This brown seaweed forms dense canopies, providing both habitat and food for other intertidal organisms. Brown seaweeds like this one sometimes produce herbivore defense compounds, making them less palatable to herbivores.

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    Carcinus maenas

    European Green Crab

    Consumer: Carnivore. These invasive crabs eat mostly molluscs such as snails and mussels, using their dextrous claws to crush or extract the molluscs from their shells.

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    Cancer irroratus

    Atlantic Rock Crab

    Consumer: Carnivore. These native crabs are scavengers and can eat many other animals including worms, mussels, crabs, and other invertebrates.

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    Littorina littorea

    Periwinkle

    Consumer: Herbivore. These herbivorous snails are generalists. They eat various types of seaweed, but prefer easily digestible green algae such as sea lettuce.

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    Littorina obtusata

    Yellow Periwinkle

    Consumer: Herbivores. These herbivorous snails are specialists, they prefer to eat and live on canopy forming brown algae such as rock weed and knotted wrack.

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    Nucella lapillus

    Dogwhelk

    Consumer: Carnivore. These predatory snails use a scraping radula to drill a hole in the shell of their prey, usually barnacles, mussels or other snails.

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    Crepidula fornicata

    Oyster-pest

    Consumer: Herbivore. These filter feeders use their gills to filter microscopic phytoplankton from the water

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    Mytilus edulis

    Mussel

    Consumer: Omnivore. These filter feeders use their gills to filter microscopic phytoplankton and zooplankton from the water.

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    Hemigrapsus sanguineus

    Asian Shore Crab

    Consumer: Omnivore. These invasive crabs are scavengers, eating algae, remains of animals, detritus, or any other organic matter they can find.

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    Pagurus longicarpus

    Long-clawed Hermit Crab

    Consumer: Omnivore. These small crabs are scavengers, eating bits of algae and detritus.

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    Asterias forbesi

    Common Seastar

    Consumer: Carnivore. These sea stars eat mussels, clams and other bivalves. Sea stars are a keystone species, because without them, mussels would grow unchecked and dominate the rocky intertidal.