Predicting biological invasions in marinehabitats through eco-physiological mechanistic models: a case study with the bivalve Brachidontes pharaonis

Valeria Montalto, Gianluca Sara', Rinaldi, Helmuth

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Aim We used a coupled biophysical ecology (BE)-physiological mechanisticmodelling approach based on the Dynamic Energy Budget theory (DEB,Dynamic energy budget theory for metabolic organisation, 2010, CambridgeUniversity Press, Cambridge; DEB) to generate spatially explicit predictions of physiological performance (maximal size and reproductive output) for the invasive mussel, Brachidontes pharaonis.Location We examined 26 sites throughout the central Mediterranean Sea.Methods We ran models under subtidal and intertidal conditions; hourlyweather and water temperature data were obtained from the Italian BuoyNetwork, and monthly CHL-a data were obtained from satellite imagery.Results Mechanistic analysis of the B. pharaonis fundamental niche shows thatsubtidal sites in the Central Mediterranean are generally suitable for this invasive bivalve but that intertidal habitats appear to serve as genetic sinks.Main conclusions A BE-DEB approach enabled an assessment of how thephysical environment affects the potential distribution of B. pharaonis. Combined with models of larval dispersal, this approach can provide estimates of the likelihood that an invasive species will become established.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1235-1247
Number of pages13
JournalDiversity and Distributions
Publication statusPublished - 2013


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics

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