Marine and Freshwater Research Marine and Freshwater Research Society
Advances in the aquatic sciences
RESEARCH ARTICLE

Seasonal population dynamics of the non-native Caprella mutica (Crustacea, Amphipoda) on the west coast of Scotland

Gail V. Ashton A B D , Michael T. Burrows A , Kate J. Willis A C and Elizabeth J. Cook A
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A Scottish Association for Marine Science, Oban, Argyll, PA37 1QA, Scotland.

B Smithsonian Environmental Research Centre, 3150 Paradise Drive, Tiburon, CA 94920, USA.

C National Institute for Water and Atmospheric Research, PO Box 8602, Christchurch, New Zealand.

D Corresponding author. Email: ashtong@si.edu

Marine and Freshwater Research 61(5) 549-559 https://doi.org/10.1071/MF09162
Submitted: 1 July 2009  Accepted: 18 October 2009   Published: 28 May 2010

Abstract

Information on the life history and population dynamics of non-native species is essential to understand the process of invasion and impacts on invaded ecosystems. The non-native marine caprellid amphipod Caprella mutica has successfully established populations on coastlines throughout the temperate northern hemisphere and in New Zealand in the southern hemisphere. The introduction mechanism has been surpassed and it is now important to understand its ecology and biology in non-native habitats. The seasonal population dynamics of C. mutica were investigated over 18 months at four sites with different levels of anthropogenic disturbance on the west coast of Scotland. Abundance of C. mutica fluctuated seasonally at all sites, peaking during June to October. The highest abundance recorded on a single mesh collector was 319 000 individuals m-2 in August 2004 at one of the fish farms. Both seasonal and site-specific factors influenced the population dynamics of C. mutica. Both males and females were significantly larger and more abundant at the fish farm sites. Individuals displayed reproductive characteristics at a smaller size at the fish farm sites, indicating earlier maturity. The results suggest that anthropogenic disturbance and artificial resource enhancement contribute to the global establishment success of non-native C. mutica.

Additional keywords: aquaculture, invasion biology.


Acknowledgements

The authors acknowledge assistance in various forms from R. Shucksmith, K. Boos and staff of the National Scientific Diving Facility, Dunstaffnage and Saulmore fish farms and Dunstaffnage marina. Thank you also to Chris Woods (NIWA) for reviewing an earlier draft of this manuscript. Funding was received from the UK Natural Environmental Research Council (PhD studentship NER/S/A/2003/11899), Esmee Fairbairn Foundation Marine Aliens project (Reference EN/04–0395) and British Ecological Society Small Ecological Project Grant 2135. We would also like to thank three anonymous reviewers and the associate editor for their suggested improvements to the manuscript.


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