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Reduced performance of native infauna following recruitment to a habitat-forming invasive marine alga


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Gribben, PE, Wright, JT, O'Connor, W, Doblin, MA, Eyre, B and Steinberg, PD 2009 , 'Reduced performance of native infauna following recruitment to a habitat-forming invasive marine alga' , Oecologica, vol. 158, no. 4 , pp. 733-745 , doi: 10.1007/s00442-008-1181-0.

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Despite well-documented negative impacts of
invasive species on native biota, evidence for the facilitation
of native organisms, particularly by habitat-forming
invasive species, is increasing. However, most of these
studies are conducted at the population or community
level, and we know little about the individual fitness consequences
of recruitment to habitat-forming invasive
species and, consequently, whether recruitment to these
habitats is adaptive. We determined the consequences of
recruitment to the invasive green alga Caulerpa taxifolia
on the native soft-sediment bivalve Anadara trapezia and
nearby unvegetated sediment. Initially, we documented the
growth and survivorship of A. trapezia following a natural
recruitment event, to which recruitment to C. taxifolia was
very high. After 12 months, few clams remained in either
habitat, and those that remained showed little growth.
Experimental manipulations of recruits demonstrated that
all performance measures (survivorship, growth and condition)
were significantly reduced in C. taxifolia sediments
compared to unvegetated sediments. Exploration of
potential mechanisms responsible for the reduced performance
in C. taxifolia sediments showed that water flow and
water column dissolved oxygen (DO) were significantly
reduced under the canopy of C. taxifolia and that sediment
anoxia was significantly higher and sediment sulphides
greater in C. taxifolia sediments. However, phytoplankton
abundance (an indicator of food supply) was significantly
higher in C. taxifolia sediments than in unvegetated ones.
Our results demonstrate that recruitment of native species
to habitat-forming invasive species can reduce growth,
condition and survivorship and that studies conducted at
the community level may lead to erroneous conclusions
about the impacts of invaders and should include studies on
life-history traits, particularly juveniles.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Gribben, PE and Wright, JT and O'Connor, W and Doblin, MA and Eyre, B and Steinberg, PD
Keywords: Anadara trapezia - Bivalve - Caulerpa taxifolia - Fitness - Growth - Invasion biology - Juveniles - Maladaptive - Soft sediment - Survivorship
Journal or Publication Title: Oecologica
ISSN: 0029-8549
DOI / ID Number: 10.1007/s00442-008-1181-0
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