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Insights into the establishment of the manila clam on a tidal flat at the southern end of an introduced range in Southern California, USA

TitleInsights into the establishment of the manila clam on a tidal flat at the southern end of an introduced range in Southern California, USA
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2015
AuthorsTalley D.M, Talley T.S, Blanco A.
JournalPlos One
Date Published2015/03
Type of ArticleArticle
ISBN Number1932-6203
Accession NumberWOS:000352084200044
Keywordsbritish-columbia; diversity; environmental-stress; estuaries; invasion; organisms; recruitment; ruditapes-philippinarum; salt-marsh; settlement

Coastal ecosystem modifications have contributed to the spread of introduced species through alterations of historic disturbance regimes and resource availability, and increased propagule pressure. Frequency of occurrence of the Manila clam (Venerupis phillipinarum, Veneridae) in Southern California estuaries has increased from absent or sparse to common since the mid-1990s. Potential invasion vectors include seafood sales and aquaculture, and spread from established northern populations over decades. The clam's post-settlement habitat preferences are, however, uncertain in this region. Our project aimed to identify factors associated with established patches of the clam within a bay toward the southern end of this introduced range. During summer 2013, we sampled 10 tidal flat sites in Mission Bay, San Diego; each containing an area with and without hard structure (e. g., riprap, boulders). We measured likely environmental influences (e. g., sediment variables, distance to ocean). Manila clam densities across the bay were most strongly associated with site, where highest densities were located in the northern and/or back halves of the bay; and weakly correlated with lower porewater salinities. Within sites, Manila clam density was enhanced in the presence of hard structure in most sites. Prevailing currents and salinity regimes likely contribute to bay wide distributions, while hard structures may provide suitable microhabitats (refuge from predators and physical stress) and larval entrapment within sites. Results provide insights into decisions about future shoreline management efforts. Finally, we identify directions for future study to better understand and therefore predict patterns of establishment of the Manila clam in the southern portion of its introduced range.

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