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Title: The ecology and aspects of behaviour of the invasive alien amphipod Arcitalitrus dorrieni (Hunt) in South West Wales
Author: Brey, I. C.
Awarding Body: University of Wales Swansea
Current Institution: Swansea University
Date of Award: 2006
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This study initially provides a detailed investigation of the population dynamics of the introduced terrestrial amphipod Arcitalitrus dorrieni in a coastal deciduous woodland. It also assesses this alien’s effect on the native leaf-litter fauna. The mean population density of A. dorrieni in this habitat was 364 indivuduals/m2. The maximum densities (around 880 individuals/m2) occurred in habitat with leaf litter of Quercus ilex overlying friable soil. Population density was strongly affected by low temperatures, suggesting that frost is one of the major regulating factors controlling the amphipod’s spread. Native invertebrate communities were not significantly altered by the presence of A. dorrieni, but some groups seemed to benefit from the landhopper’s presence, while others appeared to suffer. The latter part of this study is devoted to the design of effective handling and maintenance techniques for A. dorrieni, and a series of laboratory-based experiments investigating both ecological and behavioural aspects of its biology. A.dorrieni feeds exclusively on dead plant material, and consumes around 20% of its bodyweight per day at ambient temperatures of 13-20°C. Feeding ceases at temperatures around 4°C. In deciduous woodland, A. dorrieni is estimated to consume 25-35% of the annual litter fall at the experimental location. Many native predators accept A. dorrieni as a food item, and thus it probably faces considerable predation pressure in Britain. This may be slowing population expansion. It was established that A. dorrieni has an essentially crepuscular activity rhythm. Its ability to successfully cross a minimum of 2m of open space in one night was demonstrated. Overall, the results indicate much potential for a continued spread of the alien amphipod across the British Isles.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available