Invasive mussels directly threat intertidal vermetid reef: some evidences from a Sicilian MPA

Research output: Contribution to conferenceOther

Abstract

Biological invasions pose a great threat to natural communities. Brachidontes pharaonisis an Eritrean mussel that has accessed in the Mediterranean sea shortly after theopening of the Suez Canal. At the beginning it had a restrained distribution with smalllocal populations along the Israeli intertidal coast. More than a hundred years later itspread westward as far as NW Sicily, colonizing some hyperaline and natural habitats.Previous studies along the Israeli coast have proved that anthropogenic habitat modi#-cations occurring on vermetid reefs may promote the colonization of this invasivemussel causing a reduction of the indigenous mussel Mytilaster minimus. This studyfocuses on a population of B. pharaonis that has recently invaded some Dendropomapetraeum reefs inside the Capo Gallo-Isola delle Femmine MPA (Palermo, NW Sicily).Inter-annual comparisons (i.e. before and after the B. pharaonis arrival) show negativee"ects #rstly on the coverage and secondly on the density of D. petraeum. Moreover, noevident changes in the receiving habitat were recorded from before to after, thussuggesting that this non-native mussel may represent a direct, although local, threat tovermetid reefs.
Original languageEnglish
Pages12-
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 2009

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