(full paper is archived in the Miller Library)
Title: Microhabitat partitioning and organization of three
species of spider crabs (Brachyura, Majidae) within a central
California kelp forest community
Student Author(s): Hilpert, Matthew R.
Robbins, Jeffrey L.
Faculty Advisor(s): Pearse, John
Location: Senior Thesis UC Santa Cruz
Date: June 1 1995
Abstract: "Forests of giant kelp, Macrocystis pyrifera, are common features of shallow rocky bottom habitats throughout the world's temperate seas" (Harrold and Pearse 1987:131). Many taxa of vertebrates and invertebrates are represented within a single kelp (M. pyrifera) forest community. The structure of a kelp forest community is dependent upon both the physical nature of the environment and the interactions between organisms in the community (Reed et al. 1984). A common group of organisms inhabiting kelp forests are the Decapod crustaceans. Forty-two species of Decapods were recorded in a 1976-1977 study of a kelp forest in Hopkins Marine Life Refuge (HMLR) in Pacific Grove California (Pearse, Lowry eds. 1974). Of the decapods identified, three of the brachyurans, Scyra acutifrons, Mimulus foliatus, and Pugettia richii were found to be common inhabitants of the HMLR kelp forest. Brachyuran spider crabs have been found to be "important trophic links in the food web of the system" (Hines 1982:180). These three species of spider crabs of the family Majidae are characterized by similar size, morphology, a terminal molt at puberty when growth ceases, and sexual dimorphism (Hines 1982)...