Is apparent low productivity of the invasive marine mollusc Crepidula fornicata linnaeus, 1758 related to biased age determination?

Xavier De Montaudouin, Chiara Accolla

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

The slipper limpet Crepidula fornicata Linnaeus, 1758 is a major exotic invader of East North Atlantic coasts. Individuals live on top of each other and form stacks with the youngest on the top. Earlier studies reported that one individual typically settles per year. If true, it is a simplified means to provide a “shell length-age” relationship for population dynamics studies, especially Production/Biomass ratio (P/B) assessment. However, estimated P/B ranges between 0.15 and 0.45 yr-1 seem low compared to those of closely-related marine invertebrates and considering the invasiveness of C. fornicata in coastal habitats. In this study, we placed artificial substrates (“tiles”) for one year in the middle of a C. fornicata colony and measured settlement. We sometimes observed more than one individual settling per stack in a year: 4% of stacks were composed by 3 individuals, 27% by 2 individuals and 69% were single specimen. On this basis, we formulated a model to better link the position of each C. fornicata within a stack to its age. In addition, the C. fornicata population was annually sampled for 5 years. Then, population dynamics parameters, density at recruitment, mortality rate, growth performance, production and P/B were estimated. We compared two cases: (i) individual age was defined by its position in stacks; (ii) individual age was corrected by the model. Recalculation moderately increased growth performance expectation (+2 to 8% per year) but greatly enhanced production and P/B (ca. 1.2 to 2.6-fold per year). Recalculated P/B values ranged from 0.55 to 0.72 yr-1. While still low, they were more consistent with published values for similar large marine invertebrates, in particular for invasive species.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)459-468
Number of pages10
JournalAquatic Invasions
Volume12
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - 2017

Keywords

  • Mollusc
  • Non-indigenous species
  • Population dynamics
  • Production

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