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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 461:83-94 (2012)  -  DOI:

Macrobenthic community response to the Marenzelleria viridis (Polychaeta) invasion of a Danish estuary

Matthieu Delefosse1,*, Gary T. Banta2, Paula Canal-Vergés1,3, Gil Penha-Lopes 1,4, Cintia O. Quintana1, Thomas Valdemarsen1, Erik Kristensen1

1Institute of Biology, University of Southern Denmark, Campusvej 55, 5230 Odense M, Denmark
2Department of Environmental, Social and Spatial Change, Roskilde University, Universitetsvej 1, 4000 Roskilde C, Denmark
3DHI Water Environment Health, Agern Allé 5, 2970 Hørsholm, Denmark
4Laboratório Marítimo da Guia, Centro de Oceanografia, Faculdade de Ciências da Universidade de Lisboa, Avenida Na Senhora do Cabo, 939, 2750-374 Cascais, Portugal

ABSTRACT: We investigated the invasion of the non-native polychaete Marenzelleria viridis in a shallow Danish estuary, Odense Fjord. Three datasets with different spatial and temporal resolution were examined to describe the invasion of M. viridis and to investigate its effect on the native benthic community with focus on the 2 common polychaetes, Nereis (Hediste) diversicolor and Arenicola marina. Marenzelleria viridis colonized Odense Fjord rapidly, and within 3 yr it had spread to ~50% of the estuary. The population development of M. viridis in Odense Fjord followed the ‘boom-bust’ pattern that is typical for many invaders. M. viridis is now firmly established and has reached an overall abundance of 100 to 200 individuals (ind.) m−2 with local maxima of up to 1200 ind. m−2. Its distribution is apparently regulated by abiotic parameters that prevent its establishment in the oligohaline and more silty parts of Odense Fjord. There was a positive interaction between M. viridis and the native A. marina. Otherwise the introduction of M. viridis was synchronous with a decrease of several macroinvertebrates species, especially N. diversicolor. The latter is still the dominant species in Odense Fjord, but its density has decreased by >60% in areas colonised by M. viridis. We do not expect that N. diversicolor disappears completely in this estuary, but it will probably be displaced to refuge areas where M. viridis cannot survive. Decrease in the population size of a key native species such as N. diversicolor might have significant ecological implications at the ecosystem level with respect to biodiversity and nutrient cycling.

KEY WORDS: Invasive species · Marenzelleria viridis · Nereis (Hediste) diversicolor · Arenicola marina · Benthic communities · Biological interactions · Polychaetes · Regime shift

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Cite this article as: Delefosse M, Banta GT, Canal-Vergés P, Penha-Lopes G, Quintana CO, Valdemarsen T, Kristensen E (2012) Macrobenthic community response to the Marenzelleria viridis (Polychaeta) invasion of a Danish estuary. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 461:83-94.

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