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Impacts of two introduced suspension feeders in Port Phillip Bay, Australia

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Ross, DJ and Keough, MJ and Longmore, AR and Knott, NA (2007) Impacts of two introduced suspension feeders in Port Phillip Bay, Australia. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 340. 41 - 53. ISSN 0171-8630

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Abstract

In the past decade there has been a rapid increase in the study of the ecological consequences
of marine invasions, but we still have data for only a small proportion of established marine
invaders. This is exemplified by Port Phillip Bay, Australia, for which we have quantitative data on
the impacts of only a handful of the >160 introduced and cryptogenic species present. Some of the
most conspicuous of these invaders are the large epibenthic suspension feeders living on soft sediments.
In this study, we examined the impact of 2 of the most common epibenthic suspension feeders
in Port Phillip Bay, the introduced polychaete Sabella spallanzanii and an introduced solitary ascidian,
Styela clava, by manipulating their densities in the field across the range of naturally occurring
densities. Because of their physical presence at the sediment–water interface and suspension feeding
activities, we predicted varying impacts across different macrofaunal groups (suspension feeders,
deposit feeders, recruits and mobile species). These predictions were not supported for either introduced
species despite good power. For individual taxa, there was a significant negative relationship
between Sabella density and the abundance of lumbrinerid polychaetes and gammarid amphipods,
and between Styela density and the abundance of lumbrinerids, tanaids, crustaceans as a group, and
the bivalve Laternula rostrata. Nonetheless, these taxa only represent a small proportion of those present,
and importantly, the effects generally emerged at Sabella and Styela densities (>1 to 2 ind. m–2)
greater than those typically recorded on Port Phillip Bay sediments. Therefore, we suggest that
the effects of Sabella and Styela on soft sediment assemblages in Port Phillip Bay are likely to be
negligible.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Introduced species · Suspension feeders · Density manipulation · Soft sediments · Epibenthic
Journal or Publication Title: Marine Ecology Progress Series
Publisher: Inter-Research
Page Range: 41 - 53
ISSN: 0171-8630
Identification Number - DOI: 10.3354/meps340041
Additional Information:

Copyright © 2007 Inter Search

Date Deposited: 07 Apr 2008 14:05
Last Modified: 18 Nov 2014 03:33
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