Do mussel patches provide a refuge for algae from grazing gastropods?

Nessa O'Connor, T.P. Crowe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

On rocky shores, cover of macroalgae is often greater growing epibiotically on mussels compared to algae growing directly attached to rock. A survey of two shores on the east coast of Ireland confirmed that mussel beds contained greater percentage algal cover and more diverse algal assemblages compared to those on rock. The reasons for this difference are not clear. It has been suggested that mussel beds provide a refuge for algae from grazing gastropods. Surprisingly, we found no evidence to support this. Using wax discs, gastropod grazing patterns were found to be similar within the mussel beds as on rock. The mussel beds do not appear to provide a refuge for algae from grazing activity at this scale and we suggest other possible mechanisms for the prevalence of epibiotic algal cover on mussels. Intertidal grazers may in fact affect the epibiotic algae on mussels and thereby affect indirectly the persistence of mussel beds.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)75-78
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Molluscan Studies
Volume74
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2008

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Aquatic Science

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