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Open AccessArticle

Biogeographical Patterns of Endolithic Infestation in an Invasive and an Indigenous Intertidal Marine Ecosystem Engineer

Department of Zoology and Entomology, Rhodes University, Grahamstown 6140, South Africa
CCMAR-CIMAR–Associated Laboratory, University of Algarve, Campus de Gambelas, 8005-139 Faro, Portugal
Independent Researcher, Frankfurt, D-60325 Frankfurt, Germany
Southern Seas Ecology Laboratories, School of Biological Sciences and The Environment Institute, University of Adelaide, Adelaide 5005, Australia
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Diversity 2019, 11(5), 75;
Received: 5 April 2019 / Revised: 17 April 2019 / Accepted: 23 April 2019 / Published: 7 May 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Diversity of Ecosystem Engineers in the World Coasts and Oceans)
By altering the phenotypic properties of their hosts, endolithic parasites can modulate the engineering processes of marine ecosystem engineers. Here, we assessed the biogeographical patterns of species assemblages, prevalence and impact of endolithic parasitism in two mussel species that act as important ecosystem engineers in the southern African intertidal habitat, Perna perna and Mytilus galloprovincialis. We conducted large-scale surveys across three biogeographic regions along the South African coast: the subtropical east coast, dominated by the indigenous mussel, P. perna, the warm temperate south coast, where this species coexists with the invasive Mediterranean mussel, M. galloprovincialis, and the cool temperate west coast dominated by M. galloprovincialis. Infestation increased with mussel size, and in the case of M. galloprovincialis we found a significantly higher infestation in the cool temperate bioregion than the warm temperate region. For P. perna, the prevalence of infestation was higher on the warm temperate than the subtropical region, though the difference was marginally non-significant. On the south coast, there was no significant difference in infestation prevalence between species. Endolith-induced mortality rates through shell collapse mirrored the patterns for prevalence. For P. perna, endolith species assemblages revealed clear grouping by bioregions. Our findings indicate that biogeography affects cyanobacteria species composition, but differences between biogeographic regions in their effects are driven by environmental conditions. View Full-Text
Keywords: Biogeographical region; Mytilus galloprovincialis; Perna perna; rocky shores; parasite Biogeographical region; Mytilus galloprovincialis; Perna perna; rocky shores; parasite
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Ndhlovu, A.; McQuaid, C.D.; Nicastro, K.; Marquet, N.; Gektidis, M.; Monaco, C.J.; Zardi, G. Biogeographical Patterns of Endolithic Infestation in an Invasive and an Indigenous Intertidal Marine Ecosystem Engineer. Diversity 2019, 11, 75.

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