2015 GSA Annual Meeting in Baltimore, Maryland, USA (1-4 November 2015)

Paper No. 129-9
Presentation Time: 9:00 AM-6:30 PM


BENTLAGE, Rudolf J.1, ALBANO, Paolo G.2, DRUMMOND, Hannah1, NAGEL-MYERS, Judith3 and ZUSCHIN, Martin4, (1)Department of Geology, St. Lawrence University, Canton, NY 13617, (2)Department of Paleontology, University of Vienna, Althanstrasse 14, Vienna, 1090, Austria, (3)Geology, St. Lawrence University, 23 Romoda Drive, Canton, NY 13617, (4)Department of Paleontology, University of Vienna, Althanstrasse 14, Vienna, A-1090, Austria, Rjbent12@stlawu.edu

The Persian (Arabian) Gulf is home to many unique ecosystems that are under increasing pressure from human activities. This shallow sea is one of the most anthropogenically impacted regions in the world and understanding the effects these disturbances have on organism interactions are crucial to better manage the future of these systems. This study examines organism interactions between drilling predators and their bivalve prey around two major oil platforms off the United Arab Emirate.

For this study we examined 2073 individuals belonging to four bivalve taxa, comprising two epifaunal (Pteria sp., Septifer forskali) and two infaunal species (Timoclea cf. arakana, Ervilia purpurea).The frequency of drilled shells, of incomplete drill holes and the prey effectiveness (number of incomplete drill holes divided by the total number of drills attempted) were evaluated.

On average we observed a drilling frequency of 0.82 and 0.005 of incomplete drill holes. Drilling frequencies vary significantly from only a few percent to over 50% drilled shells in some samples. Preliminary data suggests that in general predation frequencies seem to increases in mid distance from the oil rigs, but Spearman rank correlation coefficients between drilling frequency of complete and incomplete drill holes and distances to oil rigs were not statistically significant; thus, predation frequencies seem not to be correlated to distance from the rigs; prey effectiveness also shows no significant correlation with distance from the platforms.

More data is needed to corroborate this observation such as other prey species, which will provide a more comprehensive picture of prey-predator interactions in areas disturbed by oil extraction.