The influence of mussel-modified habitat on Fucus serratus L. a rocky intertidal canopy-forming macroalga

Wangkulangkul, K, Hawkins, SJ and Jenkins, SR 2016 The influence of mussel-modified habitat on Fucus serratus L. a rocky intertidal canopy-forming macroalga. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology, 481. 63-70.

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The influence of habitat modification by Mytilus edulis L. on the settlement and development of Fucus serratus populations was investigated on rocky shores of the Isle of Anglesey, North Wales. Settlement of fucoids was higher inside mussel habitat than outside on one of two shores studied. The effect of microhabitat on survival of fucoid germlings was examined by transplanting the germlings into and outside mussel habitats, each with and without the exclusion of grazers. Observation showed that periwinkles and top shells were abundant in mussel habitat, while limpets dominated bare rock. Exclusion of grazers greatly enhanced the survival of fucoid germlings in both habitats, indicating that while mussel habitat supports a different grazer assemblage to bare rock, both assemblages are important in limiting fucoid recruitment. The risk of dislodgement was assessed and compared between fucoids growing on mussel shells and bare rock. In situ pull-tests showed that less force was required to detach large fertile thalli growing on mussel shells than those growing on the rock. Adhesion was generally broken between the mussel and the rock rather than between the holdfast and the mussel. These observations indicate that mussels provide an unstable substrate for mature fucoids. Overall results suggest that a negative effect of mussel-modified habitat on fucoids is profound in adults; but the effect is context-dependent in juveniles and can be positive at settlement. Results from a survey on population structure of fucoids across two shores showed that there were greater numbers of large fertile fucoids growing directly attached to rock than on mussel shells, while there was no difference for juvenile fucoids confirming the experimental results. Moreover thalli larger than 60 cm were found only on the rock but not on shells. This finding suggests that a mussel dominated habitat may have a significant impact on reproductive output in fucoid populations.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Divisions: Marine Biological Association of the UK > Other (MBA)
Depositing User: Barbara Bultmann
Date made live: 04 Oct 2016 11:29
Last Modified: 25 Apr 2020 09:57

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