Fouling mussels (Dreissena spp.) colonize soft sediments in Lake Erie and facilitate benthic invertebrates
1. We conducted survey and transplant studies to determine whether colonization and residency on soft sediments by introduced, fouling mussels (Dreissena polymorpha and D. bugensis) were affected by physical disturbance, and whether Dreissena presence in turn influenced the diversity and population densities of other benthic invertebrates. Surveys revealed that colony density was typically higher at moderate depths than at shallower and greater ones. However, the largest, midsummer colonies and greatest coverage of sediments by mussels occurred at deeper sites. 2. Disturbance of transplanted colonies varied by depth and colony size, with deeper and larger colonies experiencing the lowest destruction rates. Colony destruction rate was positively correlated with current velocity adjacent to the lakebed. 3. Absence of mussel colonies at shallow sites was not determined by recruitment or substrate limitation, as recruit density was higher and sediment characteristics more suitable for postveliger settlement at shallow than at deeper sites. Rather, seasonal storms have much stronger effects in shallow than in deep water. 4. Mussel residency on soft sediment has profound effects on invertebrate biodiversity. Invertebrate species (taxon) richness and total abundance were positively correlated with mussel colony area. Mussel-sediment habitat supported between 462 and 703% more taxa, and between 202 and 335% more individuals (exclusive of Dreissena) than adjacent soft-sediment lacking mussels. 5. Results from this study illustrate-that physical disturbance directly limits the distribution of mussels on soft sediments, and the diversity and abundance of other benthic invertebrates in consequence.
Bially, A. and MacIsaac, H. J., "Fouling mussels (Dreissena spp.) colonize soft sediments in Lake Erie and facilitate benthic invertebrates" (2000). Freshwater Biology, 43, 1, 85-97.