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Sand and wave induced mortality in invasive (Mytilus galloprovincialis) and indigenous (Perna perna) mussels
Zardi, G.I.; Nicastro, K.R.; McQuaid, C.D.; Erlandsson, J. (2008). Sand and wave induced mortality in invasive (Mytilus galloprovincialis) and indigenous (Perna perna) mussels. Mar. Biol. (Berl.) 153(5): 853-858.
In: Marine Biology. Springer: Heidelberg; Berlin. ISSN 0025-3162; e-ISSN 1432-1793, more
Peer reviewed article  

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  • Zardi, G.I.
  • Nicastro, K.R.
  • McQuaid, C.D.
  • Erlandsson, J.

    The ability of an invasive species to spread in a new locality depends on its interaction with the indigenous community and on variation in time and space in the environment. The Mediterranean mussel Mytilus galloprovincialis invaded the South African coast 30 years ago and it now competes and coexists with the indigenous mussel Perna perna. The two species show different tolerances to wave and sand stress, two of the main environmental factors affecting this intertidal community. P. perna is more resistant to hydrodynamic stress than M. galloprovincialis, while the invasive species is less vulnerable to sand action. Our results show that mortality rates of the two species over a period of 6 months had different timing. The indigenous species had higher mortality than M. galloprovincialis during periods of high sand accumulation in mussel beds, while the pattern reversed during winter, when wave action was high. A negative correlation between sand accumulation and attachment strength of the two mussels showed that sand not only affects mussel mortality through scouring and burial, but also weakens their attachment strength, subjecting them to a higher risk of dislodgement. Here we underline the importance of variations in time and space of environmental stress in regulating the interaction between invasive and indigenous species, and how these variations can create new competitive balances.

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