Inter-Research > MEPS > v476 > p115-128  
Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 476:115-128 (2013)  -  DOI:

Co-existence of two mytilid species in a heterogeneous environment: mortality, growth and strength of shell and byssus attachment

Jose M. F. Babarro1,*, María José Abad2

1Instituto de Investigaciones Marinas CSIC, Eduardo Cabello 6, 36208 Vigo, Spain
2Grupo de Polímeros (CIT), Campus de Esteiro, C/Dr Vázquez Cabrera s/n, 15403 Ferrol, A Coruña, Spain

ABSTRACT: The co-existence patterns of 2 mytilid species were studied in order to evaluate the performance of the alien mussel Xenostrobus securis and the indigenous Mytilus galloprovincialis through monospecific and mixed co-habiting experiments in the Ría de Vigo (northwest Spain). Mytilus galloprovincialis was found to be the best performer in all tests. Shell growth was ~4-fold greater for the indigenous mussel when deployed without interspecific competition and regardless of density. Differences in shell growth were found to be similar within mixed populations wherein M. galloprovincialis showed greater ability for upward migratory movements on the mixed beds and distanced itself from the mud influenced layer. The alien X. securis, however, was found to inhabit underneath the M. galloprovincialis layer, which resulted in higher mortality rates. Species-specific features such as byssus filaments and lifestyle may account for such different behaviour. M. galloprovincialis secreted thicker and stronger shells and byssus regardless of their density in both monospecific and mixed experiments. This might indicate that the indigenous mussel performs better when confronted with abiotic stress or biotic pressure. The alien X. securis is currently found to establish high-density patches of individuals at the confluence of main rivers that flow into the estuary (highly heterogeneous scenario). Such behaviour favours its settlement far from the native mussel influence area. X. securis also colonises hard substrates that are not-fully occupied by other invertebrates, but its range was found to be limited by the presence of the indigenous mussel.

KEY WORDS: Mytilus galloprovincialis · Xenostrobus securis · Limnoperna · Performance · Competition · Plasticity · Byssus

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Cite this article as: Babarro JMF,  Abad MJ (2013) Co-existence of two mytilid species in a heterogeneous environment: mortality, growth and strength of shell and byssus attachment. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 476:115-128.

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