Corophium volutator is an abundant, burrow-dwelling amphipod found in the Minas Basin, Bay of Fundy. Understanding how Corophium recruit into tidal flat communities is important as they are an important food source for shore birds and demersal (groundfeeding) fish. Corophium volutator are sometimes referred to as “ecosystem engineers” as they impact tidal flat structure when building their burrows.


The objective of this experiment is to determine if recruitment of juvenile C. volutator into tidal flat communities is influenced by conspecifics- do other Corophium (adult males, adult females and other juveniles) influence where new recruits build their burrows?

The Process

Sediment samples and C. volutator were collected from Avonport tidal flats. Adults and juveniles were to added cores of sediment in racks placed in mesocosms and exposed to ambient tidal cycles. After a one week acclimatization period, 1000 juveniles will be added to each rack. After two weeks, the Corophium will be examined to determine if recruitment of juveniles was impacted by the presence of adults, males, or other juveniles in the sediment.

What we have seen so far:

  • Adult males desperately trying to escape their enclosure, possibly to find females
  • Adult females pulling smaller females out of their burrows with their antennae and claiming the burrow as their own

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