Published on: 17/10/95
Postlarval, Juvenile, Adolescent, and Adult Ecology
This chapter reviews the benthic life history of Homarus americanus, including aspects of postlarval supply, and transition to the benthos that are influential in determining initial benthic distribution. A new life history classification is presented that divides the benthic portion of the life cycle into five distinct phases: three juvenile phases (shelter-restricted, emergent, and vagile), an adolescent phase, and an adult phase. Patterns in the distribution and abundance, shelter usage and feeding, movement potential, social interaction, and community role of these successive benthic life history phases are surveyed. Given the status of H. americanus as a major fisheries resource, this review also delves into the interaction between fisheries science and ecology. Emphasis is on the last decade of research, which has disclosed the mode devie of lobsters in their first few months and years of benthic existence. New insight has also been obtained into adult ecology through the use of enhanced animal tracking and in situ observational techniques, which have partially overcome the historical reliance on commercial fisheries sampling to assay the distribution and abundance of this final protracted life history phase. A new life history scheme is presented for the American lobster (Homarus americanus) consisting of seven phases, in which the first three larval developmental stages are considered one (fully) pelagic phase. The postlarva is well designed to effect the drastic change in habit from a pelagic to a benthic lifestyle.