Mussels of a marginal population affect the patterns of ambient macrofauna: A case study from the Baltic Sea.

Lauringson, Velda and Kotta, Jonne (2016) Mussels of a marginal population affect the patterns of ambient macrofauna: A case study from the Baltic Sea. Marine Environmental Research, 116 . pp. 10-17. DOI 10.1016/j.marenvres.2016.02.010.

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Abstract

In contemporary ecosystems, organisms are increasingly confronted with suboptimal living conditions. We aimed to understand the role of ecosystem engineering species in suboptimal habitats from a population inhabiting the species range margin in naturally stressful conditions. We determined the impact of 2-4 cm sized patches of dwarfed mussels Mytilus trossulus close to its lower salinity limit in the North-Eastern Baltic Sea, on epibenthic community patterns. Mussels affected total macrofaunal abundance and biomass and the taxonomic and functional community structure based on abundances, as well as the species composition of macrofauna. Mussels did not affect ephemeral algae or sediment chlorophyll content, but increased the abundance, biomass, richness, and diversity of grazers, within a radius approximately twelve times the size of mussel patches. We can expect marginal populations of ecosystem engineers in suboptimal habitats to contribute to spatial heterogeneity in biotic patterns and eventual ecosystem stability.

Document Type: Article
Keywords: Algae; Benthic ecology; Community; Ecosystem engineer; Grazer; Herbivore; Mytilus trossulus; Physiological stress; Suboptimal habitat; Suspension feeder
Refereed: Yes
Open Access Journal?: No
DOI etc.: 10.1016/j.marenvres.2016.02.010
ISSN: 0141-1136
Projects: BONUS BIO-C3
Date Deposited: 17 Oct 2016 11:50
Last Modified: 17 Dec 2018 08:18
URI: http://oceanrep.geomar.de/id/eprint/34358

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