Mechanisms of habitat segregation between an invasive (Mytilus galloprovincialis) and an indigenous (Perna perna) mussel: adult growth and mortality

Bownes, S.J. and McQuaid, C.D. (2010) Mechanisms of habitat segregation between an invasive (Mytilus galloprovincialis) and an indigenous (Perna perna) mussel: adult growth and mortality. Marine Biology, 158 (8). pp. 1799-1810. ISSN 0025-3162



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The invasive mussel Mytilus galloprovincialis and the indigenous mussel Perna perna coexist intertidally on the south coast of South Africa through partial vertical habitat segregation: M. galloprovincialis dominates the upper shore and P. perna the lower shore. Recruitment patterns can explain the zonation of P. perna, but not the invasive species. We examined the role of post-recruitment interactions by measuring spatial and temporal differences in adult growth and mortality rates of the two species. Specifically, we tested the hypothesis that interspecific differences in growth and mortality reflect adult distribution patterns. The two study locations, Plettenberg Bay and Tsitsikamma, are 70 km apart with two sites (separated by 300–400 m) per location, each divided into three vertical zones. Growth was measured seasonally using different marking methods in 2001 and 2003. Cumulative adult mortality was measured through summer in 2003/2004. Both species generally grew more slowly upshore, but they showed different effects of season. For P. perna, growth was significantly reduced in winter in the low zone, but unaffected by season in the high zone. For M. galloprovincialis, growth was either unaffected by season or increased in winter, even in the high zone. Thus, growth of P. perna and M. galloprovincialis was reduced under cool winter and warm summer temperatures, respectively; and while growth was more similar between species in summer, M. galloprovincialis grew much faster than P. perna in winter. Mortality of P. perna increased upshore. For M. galloprovincialis, mortality was not zone-dependent and was significantly greater than for P. perna on the low-shore and (generally) across the shore in Tsitsikamma. Both species had higher growth and mortality rates in Plettenberg Bay than in Tsitsikamma. Thus, P. perna seems able to maintain spatial dominance on the low-shore and at certain sites because of higher mortality of M. galloprovincialis. We conclude that seasonality in growth of the two species reflects their biogeographic affinities and that coexistence is possible through pre-recruitment effects that limit the vertical distribution of P. perna and post-recruitment effects that limit M. galloprovincialis.

Item Type:Article
Additional Information:The original publication is available at
Uncontrolled Keywords:Invasive Mytilus galloprovincialis; Indigenous Perna perna; mussels; South Africa; habitat; Plettenberg Bay; Tsitsikamma; ecology; growth
Subjects:Q Science > QL Zoology
Divisions:Faculty > Faculty of Science > Zoology & Entomology
ID Code:1744
Deposited By: Mrs Eileen Shepherd
Deposited On:07 Aug 2010 14:15
Last Modified:06 Jan 2012 16:21
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