Hopkins Marine Station Student Paper

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(full paper is archived in the Miller Library)

Title: Niche differences in Cucumaria curata dn Cucumaria pseudocurata of Central California
Student Author(s): Collison, James S.
Faculty Advisor(s): Baxter, Chuck
Pages: 21
Location: Final Papers Biology 175H
Date: June 1983
Keywords: echinoderms
Abstract: Three sites in Monterey County California were chosen to study microhabitatual differences in two closely related holothuroids, Cucumaria curata, and Cucumaria pseudocurata. Collections were taken along a gradient of exposure, from protected pools receiving occasional, moderated splash at low tides to the lowest levels of the intertidal receiving heavy, constant splash, to determine distribution of both species. C. curata dominated in the exposed situations, whereas C. pseudocurata dominated in the protected areas. Two interrelated factors in the niche differences are wave action and desiccation, which were moderated by the cucumbers' association with encrusting corallines, Corallina, Claiarthron, and Mytilus, the behavior of clinging into depressions, and the habit of aggregation.