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Distribution of a marginal population of Mytilus edulis: responses to biotic and abiotic processes at different spatial scales
Westerbom, M.; Mustonen, O.; Kilpi, M. (2008). Distribution of a marginal population of Mytilus edulis: responses to biotic and abiotic processes at different spatial scales. Mar. Biol. (Berl.) 153(6): 1153-1164. hdl.handle.net/10.1007/s00227-007-0886-7
In: Marine Biology. Springer: Heidelberg; Berlin. ISSN 0025-3162, more
Peer reviewed article  

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Keyword
    Marine

Authors  Top 
  • Westerbom, M.
  • Mustonen, O.
  • Kilpi, M.

Abstract
    Physical and biological processes interact to produce pattern in nature. Pattern is scale dependent as processes generating pattern are heterogeneous in time and space. We tested some causes of variation in abundance and distribution of three marginal populations of sublittoral blue mussels, Mytilus edulis, in the non-tidal northeastern Baltic Sea. We studied the role of substrate inclination, perennial algae and siltation along local wave exposure gradients on mussel distribution over a regional salinity gradient. We found marked differences on regional scales (p < 0.001) with lower densities and biomasses of mussels with declining salinity. Along local gradients, mussel densities increased with increasing exposure (p < 0.001) and declining slope and sedimentation (p < 0.01). Site specifically, densities of blue mussels and the perennial red algae, Furcellaria lumbricalis, were positively related, results supported by a colonisation experiment. Also, young post-recruits showed significant relations to adult biomass, wave exposure, algal biomass, bottom slope and sediment cover. Findings showed that the relative importance of the determinants affecting blue mussels at the edge of their range vary with scale and are affected by the density and size structure of mussel populations. The study provides an indication of the types of factors that may be invoked as causes of spatial variation in marginal blue mussel populations and reinforces the need to consider multiple aspects when distributional patterns are assessed.

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