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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 412:129-139 (2010)  -  DOI:

A non-native bryozoan creates novel substrate on the mudflats in San Francisco Bay

Chela J. Zabin1,2,*, Rena Obernolte2, Joshua A. Mackie3, Jackson Gentry4, Leslie Harris5, Jonathan Geller6

1Smithsonian Environmental Research Center, 3152 Paradise Drive, Tiburon, California 94965, USA
2Department of Environmental Science and Policy, University of California, Davis, 2142 Wickson Hall, One Shields Avenue, Davis, California 95616, USA
3Biological Sciences, San Jose State University, San Jose, California 95192, USA
4Marine Science Institute, 500 Discovery Parkway, Redwood City, California 94063, USA
5Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, 900 Exposition Boulevard, Los Angeles, California 90007, USA
6Moss Landing Marine Laboratories, Moss Landing, California 95039, USA

ABSTRACT: A non-native bryozoan, Schizoporella errata, forms extensive patches of free-living balls and reef-like structures (bryoliths) on the mudflats in south San Francisco Bay, California. The ball-like bryoliths range from 2 to 20 cm in diameter, and the reef-like structures can be nearly 1 m across. While S. errata is known to form bryoliths in other locations, free-living aggregations like these have not been reported. Colony morphology appears to be a plastic trait as analysis of relationships among forms using cytochrome oxidase subunit I (COI) nucleotide sequence data revealed no genetic separation. We recorded >50 species of algae and invertebrates living on and in the bryoliths and determined the invasion status for 34 of the 50 species. Of the 34, 25 (74%) were non-natives and included fouling species that require hard substrate. The bryoliths may thus facilitate colonization by invaders on the mudflats and serve as stepping stones between the limited hard substrate habitats in the Bay.

KEY WORDS: Bryoliths · Bryozoans · Schizoporella · Habitat modification · Invasive species · Facilitation

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Cite this article as: Zabin CJ, Obernolte R, Mackie JA, Gentry J, Harris L, Geller J (2010) A non-native bryozoan creates novel substrate on the mudflats in San Francisco Bay. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 412:129-139.

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