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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 484:143-153 (2013)  -  DOI:

Climate change facilitated range expansion of the non-native angular crab Goneplax rhomboides into the North Sea

Hermann Neumann1,2,*, Ingeborg de Boois3, Ingrid Kröncke1,2, Henning Reiss1,4

1Senckenberg Gesellschaft für Naturforschung, Department for Marine Research, Südstrand 40, 26382 Wilhelmshaven, Germany
2Biodiversity and Climate Research Centre (BiK-F), Senckenberganlage 25, 60325 Frankfurt am Main, Germany
3Netherlands Institute for Fisheries Research (IMARES), PO Box 68, 1970 AB IJmuiden, The Netherlands
4University of Nordland, Faculty of Biosciences and Aquaculture, PO Box 1490, 8049 Bodø, Norway

ABSTRACT: The angular crab Goneplax rhomboides is native to the north-eastern Atlantic and Mediterranean Sea. It has rarely been reported from the North Sea, with no evidence of sustainable populations. Compiled survey data, however, revealed an increasing abundance of this species in the North Sea since 2000. The data were used to (1) describe the range expansion of the angular crab into the North Sea; and (2) to apply species distribution modeling (maximum entropy approach–MAXENT) to predict the potential habitats of this species. Habitats of species with a similar ecology were modeled to analyse habitat overlap and potential competition. The spatial and temporal patterns of records revealed that the expansion of the angular crab into the North Sea is due to natural larval dispersal rather than anthropogenic vectors. Modeled habitats of the angular crab showed a core distribution area along the Scottish coastline and in the southern North Sea. Sea bottom temperatures in February had the highest influence on the model results. We concluded that the angular crab has extended its distribution range from the north-eastern Atlantic to the North Sea, which was facilitated by an increase in water temperature and the prevailing hydrodynamics over the last decade. This was the first time that a benthic range expansion was observed in quasi real time for the North Sea. Habitats of the angular crab overlapped those of possible competitors to a large extent. However, co-existence of the species is expected rather than any negative effects resulting from the range expansion of the angular crab.

KEY WORDS: Temperature · Larvae drift · Currents · Species distribution modeling · SDM · Competition · Norway lobster · Nephrops norvegicus · Masked crab · Corystes cassivelaunus · Mud shrimp · Callianassa subterranea

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Cite this article as: Neumann H, de Boois I, Kröncke I, Reiss H (2013) Climate change facilitated range expansion of the non-native angular crab Goneplax rhomboides into the North Sea. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 484:143-153.

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