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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 372:119-126 (2008)  -  DOI:

Movement behaviour and mortality in invasive and indigenous mussels: resilience and resistance strategies at different spatial scales

K. R. Nicastro1,2,*,**, G. I. Zardi1,2,**, C. D. McQuaid1

1Department of Zoology and Entomology, Rhodes University, Grahamstown 6140, South Africa
2Present address: CCMAR-CIMAR Laboratório Associado, Univ. Algarve, Gambelas, 8005-139 Faro, Portugal
**These authors contributed equally to this work

ABSTRACT: The responses of indigenous and exotic species to environmental factors can differ across spatial and temporal scales, and it is this difference that determines invasion success and the dynamics of co-existence. In South Africa, the indigenous Perna perna and the invasive Mytilus galloprovincialis are the dominant intertidal mussels on the southern coast, where they co-exist. We compared their movement behaviour over 6 mo at small scales (within and at the edge of mussel beds) and at meso scales (in bays and on the open coast). M. galloprovincialis moved more and had higher mortality rates than did P. perna. For both species, mortality was greater at the edge than at the centre of beds, and on the open coast than in bays. Mussels at the edge of beds moved more than those within beds, but, while this was true for M. galloprovincialis in both habitats, P. perna did not show a position effect on the open coast. Cross-correlation analysis showed that movement rates of both species were correlated with mortality rates after a lag of 1 mo. These results suggest that following mortality events, mussels react to increased availability of space and decreased attachment to neighbours by increasing their movement to reorganise into a safer arrangement. However, P. perna and M. galloprovincialis effectively adopt resistance and resilience strategies, respectively. The effectiveness of each strategy depends on environmental conditions in different habitats, influencing the possibility of co-existence. The higher hydrodynamic stresses experienced in open coast habitats and at the edge of a mussel bed are disadvantageous to the more active, less strongly attached invasive species.

KEY WORDS: Invasive species · Behaviour · Mussel · Open coast · Mytilus galloprovincialis · Perna perna

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Cite this article as: Nicastro KR, Zardi GI, McQuaid CD (2008) Movement behaviour and mortality in invasive and indigenous mussels: resilience and resistance strategies at different spatial scales. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 372:119-126.

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