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Effectiveness of zebra mussels to act as shelters from fish predators differs between native and invasive amphipod prey
Kobak, J.; Jermacz, L.; Plachocki, D. (2014). Effectiveness of zebra mussels to act as shelters from fish predators differs between native and invasive amphipod prey. Aquat. Ecol. 48(4): 397-408.
In: Aquatic Ecology. Springer: Dordrecht; London; Boston. ISSN 1386-2588; e-ISSN 1573-5125, more
Peer reviewed article  

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    Dreissena polymorpha (Pallas, 1771) [WoRMS]; Gammaridae Leach, 1814 [WoRMS]
Author keywords
    Gammarids; Fish predation; Ponto-Caspian community; Biological invasions; Habitat type

Authors  Top 
  • Kobak, J.
  • Jermacz, L.
  • Plachocki, D.

    Biological invasions cause organisms to face new predators, but also supply new anti-predator shelters provided by alien ecosystem engineers. We checked the level of anti-predator protection provided to three gammarid species by an invasive Ponto-Caspian zebra mussel Dreissena polymorpha, known for its habitat modification abilities. We used gammarids differing in their origin and level of association with mussels: Ponto-Caspian aliens Dikerogammarus villosus (commonly occurring in mussel beds) and Pontogammarus robustoides (not associated with mussels), as well as native European Gammarus fossarum (not co-occurring with dreissenids). The gammarids were exposed to predation of two fish species: the racer goby Babka gymnotrachelus (Ponto-Caspian) and Amur sleeper Perccottus glenii (Eastern Asian). This set of organisms allowed us to check whether the origin and level of association with mussels of both prey and predators affect the ability of gammarids to utilize zebra mussel beds as shelters. We tested gammarid survival in the presence of fish and one of five substrata: sand, macrophytes, stones, living mussels and empty mussel valves. D. villosus survived better than its congeners on all substrata, and its survival was highest in living dreissenids. The survival of the other gammarids was similar on all substrata. Both fish species exhibited similar predation efficiency. Thus, D. villosus, whose affinity to dreissenids has already been established, utilizes them as protection from fish predators, including allopatric predators, more efficiently than other amphipods. Therefore, the presence of dreissenids in areas invaded by D. villosus is likely to help the invader establish itself in a new place.

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