Ecological impacts caused by invasive alien species can be severe but may vary depending upon environmental conditions. Many European populations of the native mussel, Mytilus edulis, have been invaded by the Pacific oyster, Crassostrea (Magallana) gigas. Although widespread invasions have occurred, interactions between M. edulis and C. gigas have largely been investigated with regards to competition for space and food as well as effects on species assemblages. Experimental investigation of competitive interactions on physiological responses of the two species requires further exploration. To this end, we used a 12-month field manipulation experiment to examine growth rates, mortality and condition indices of the two species occurring in monospecific and heterospecific groups. Growth rates and mortality of both species were similar in monospecific and heterospecific groups, whereas condition indices were significantly reduced for both species in heterospecific groups. Growth rates and condition indices also differed amongst experimental sites, potentially due to differing water motion. Shell weight-length relationships did not explain the observed differences in condition for either species. We show that coexistence between the two species may occur but could be detrimental for both species. We also provide a preliminary viewpoint that water motion can mediate competitive interactions between these species.
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Biotic and abiotic factors influencing the invasion success and ecological impacts of the Pacific oyster, Crassostrea gigasAuthor: Joyce, P., Dec 2019
Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis › Doctor of PhilosophyFile