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Mytilid mussels: global habitat engineers in coastal sediments
Buschbaum, C.; Dittmann, S.; Hong, J.-S.; Hwang, I.-S.; Strasser, M.; Thiel, M.; Valdivia, N.; Yoon, S.-P.; Reise, K. (2009). Mytilid mussels: global habitat engineers in coastal sediments. Helgol. Mar. Res. 63(1): 47-58. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10152-008-0139-2
In: Helgoland Marine Research. Springer: Berlin; Heidelberg. ISSN 1438-387X; e-ISSN 1438-3888, more
Peer reviewed article  

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    Biological diversity > Biodiversity
    Management > Ecosystem management
    Taxa > Species
    Mytilidae Rafinesque, 1815 [WoRMS]
Author keywords
    Ecosystem engineer; Mussel bed; Diversity; Species richness; Soft bottom

Authors  Top 
  • Buschbaum, C., more
  • Dittmann, S.
  • Hong, J.-S.
  • Hwang, I.-S.
  • Strasser, M.
  • Thiel, M.
  • Valdivia, N.
  • Yoon, S.-P.
  • Reise, K., more

    Dense beds of mussels of the family Mytilidae occur worldwide on soft-bottoms in cold and warm temperate coastal waters and have usually been considered hot spots of biodiversity. We examined intertidal mussel beds at four distant locations around the globe with the same sampling method, to find out whether this “hot spot” designation holds universally. We studied species assemblages within the matrices of byssally interconnected mussels engineered by Mytilus edulis in the North Sea, by mixed Perumytilus purpuratus and Mytilus chilensis at the southern Chilean coast, by Musculista senhousia in the Yellow Sea and by Xenostrobus inconstans at the coast of southern Australia. In all cases, species assemblages inside mussel beds were significantly different from those outside with many species being restricted to one habitat type. However, species richness and diversity were not generally higher in mussel beds than in ambient sediments without mussels. In the North Sea (M. edulis) and at the Chilean coast (P. purpuratus, M. chilensis), mussel beds have markedly higher species numbers and diversities than surrounding sediments, but this was not the case for mussel beds in Australia (X. inconstans) and the Yellow Sea (M. senhousia) where numbers of associated species were only slightly higher and somewhat lower than in adjacent sediments, respectively. In conclusion, although soft bottom mytilid mussels generally enhance habitat heterogeneity and species diversity at the ecosystem level, mussel beds themselves are not universal centres of biodiversity, but the effects on associated species are site specific.

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