The population dynamics and secondary production of the cirolanid isopod Excirolana braziliensis are compared between two distinct sandy beaches. Monthly sampling from June 1998 through July 2000 was carried out at Grumari (a reflective beach with coarse sand and steeper slope) and Restinga da Marambaia (an intermediate beach with fine sand and moderate slope), both located in Rio de Janeiro State (23° S), southeastern Brazil. Sampling was conducted according to a systematic design in which two transects (fixed 500 meters apart) were established, each with 10 equally spaced sampling strata. From each stratum, five replicates (0.04 square meters) were taken. Highest population abundances were observed in spring and summer on both beaches. The beaches differed significantly in physical parameters and the characteristics of their inhabitant populations: (1) Grumari Beach had a steeper slope, coarse sands, and a short swash period; (2) the abundance of total population, fecundity at length, and egg production potential were higher at Restinga da Marambaia; and (3) individual growth of males was higher at Grumari. Mean length at sexual maturity (L50%), mortality, growth of females, secondary production, and mean annual biomass did not show significant differences between beaches. Variations in population parameters of E. braziliensis might be regulated by phenotypic adjustment to local conditions, optimizing fitness, and especially enabling species to adapt to different physical conditions.
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Vol. 2006 • No. 224