Population dynamics of a nonindigenous epiphytic bryozoan Membranipora membranacea in the western North Atlantic: Effects of kelp substrate

Saunders, Megan I. and Metaxas, Anna (2009) Population dynamics of a nonindigenous epiphytic bryozoan Membranipora membranacea in the western North Atlantic: Effects of kelp substrate. Aquatic Biology, 8 1: 83-94. doi:10.3354/ab00208


Author Saunders, Megan I.
Metaxas, Anna
Title Population dynamics of a nonindigenous epiphytic bryozoan Membranipora membranacea in the western North Atlantic: Effects of kelp substrate
Formatted title
Population dynamics of a nonindigenous epiphytic bryozoan Membranipora membranacea in the western North Atlantic: Effects of kelp substrate
Journal name Aquatic Biology   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1864-7790
1864-7790
Publication date 2009
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.3354/ab00208
Open Access Status DOI
Volume 8
Issue 1
Start page 83
End page 94
Total pages 12
Place of publication Oldendorf, Germany
Publisher Inter-Research
Language eng
Formatted abstract
In rocky subtidal ecosystems of the western North Atlantic, the nonindigenous epiphytic bryozoan Membranipora membranacea facilitates the introduction of other nonindigenous benthic species by defoliating kelps. Susceptibility to infestation by the bryozoan varies among kelp species, although the causes of this variability are not known. We monitored the percent cover of the bryozoan on Saccharina longicruris, Laminaria digitata, and Agarum clathratum, at 2 to 3 depths within 3 sites over 15 mo in 2005 to 2006. To infer mechanisms of observed differences in cover, we examined patterns of colony settlement and abundance, size-frequency distributions, and the proportion of plants with overwintering bryozoans on the respective kelp species. We also quantified the distributions and abundances of kelps before and after a major defoliation event in the fall of 2006. During the peak in abundance in fall, the highest percent cover of the bryozoan was consistently observed on L. digitata, which was achieved by colonies attaining larger sizes. The lowest cover and abundance were observed on A. clathratum, a pattern that we attributed to lower recruitment. Following an outbreak of the bryozoan in the fall of 2006, defoliation of the kelp bed was due to losses of individuals of S. longicruris, and to a lesser extent, A. clathratum, but not to losses of L. digitata, which increased in abundance at 1 location. Our results suggest that differences in the abundance of this introduced species among its algal hosts arise as a result of both differential settlement and survival. In turn, differential susceptibility among hosts to infestation may result in alteration of the algal community structure.
Keyword Invasive species
Kelp beds
Rocky subtidal ecosystems
Epibiota
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status Non-UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Global Change Institute Publications
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