Quantitative Effects of Atyid Shrimp (Decapoda: Atyidae) on the Depositional Environment in a Tropical Stream: Use of Electricity for Experimental Exclusion

Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences (Impact Factor: 2.29). 06/1994; 51(6):1443-1450. DOI: 10.1139/f94-144


Effects of biotic (shrimp) and abiotic (discharge) factors on the depositional environment were quantified in a montane stream in Puerto Rico. Electricity was used experimentally to exclude large (approximately >1 cm in length) biota without artificially increasing sedimentation as in cage enclosure/exdosure experiments in stream systems. Shrimp (>1 cm in length) were excluded from rock substrata by semicircular fences hooked up to battery-powered fence chargers which emitted continuous pulses of electricity. Unelectrified control substrata had natural high densities of atyid shrimp. Significantly greater masses of total sediment, fine and large organic particles, and algal biovolume occurred in shrimp exclusion treatments relative to controls. Shrimp exclusion treatments experienced slow and steady accumulation of sediments under base flow conditions and a large stepwise increase in sediment weight following a storm. No measurable sediment accrued in the presence of natural densities of shrimp under base flow conditions. Shrimp rapidly removed sediments that accrued during the storm (440–620 g∙m2 dry mass−1), decreasing sediment mass in control treatments to near prestorm levels (5–13 g∙m2 dry mass−1) within 30 h. Atyid shrimp can significantly affect the accumulation of organic and inorganic materials on rock substrata in stream pools between high-discharge events.

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