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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 713:71-81 (2023)  -  DOI:

Determining restoration potential by transplanting mussels of different size classes over a range of aerial exposures

Emilee D. Benjamin1,2,*, Andrew Jeffs1, Sean J. Handley2, Trevyn A. Toone1,2, Jenny R. Hillman1

1Institute of Marine Science, University of Auckland, Private Bag 92019, Auckland 1142, New Zealand
2National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research, 217 Akersten Street, Port Nelson, Nelson 7010, New Zealand
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: Restoration of mussels typically focuses on either subtidal or intertidal habitats, although it is important to consider the full historical range of a species. However, it remains unclear how environmental changes can impact the ability of mussels to survive in tidal heights where they occurred historically. Additionally, there is limited research on the viability of reducing mussel stock size for restoration purposes. In this study, green-lipped mussels Perna canaliculus of 2 size classes (80 and 60 mm) were assessed when transplanted as a single size class or as mixed cohorts in 9 m2 plots at 3 shore heights (i.e. neap low tide, spring low tide, and subtidal). The mussels were sampled over a 1 yr period to understand the effect that shore height and size class had on mussel metrics, such as survival, growth, and condition. The results revealed that shore height had a greater effect than size class on mussel survival, with a total loss of mussels transplanted into areas that were exposed at neap tides in contrast to 39% mussel survival transplanted into areas that were only exposed on spring low tides. Further, mussels transplanted in the adjacent subtidal had higher overall survival (74%). This suggests that aerial exposure time determines the upper vertical limit for restoration by transplantation of mussels sourced from aquaculture, despite their historical distribution. The results of this study also support the use of smaller mussels (~60 mm) for transplantation for mussel reef restoration, as a 25% reduction in size resulted in 50% more mussels being deployed.

KEY WORDS: Green-lipped mussels · Perna canaliculus · New Zealand · Bivalve · Shellfish · Stock selection · Intertidal

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Cite this article as: Benjamin ED, Jeffs A, Handley SJ, Toone TA, Hillman JR (2023) Determining restoration potential by transplanting mussels of different size classes over a range of aerial exposures. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 713:71-81.

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