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Impacts of Dreissena invasions on benthic macroinvertebrate communities: a meta-analysis

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Dreissenid mussels (the zebra mussel Dreissena polymorpha and the quagga mussel Dreissena bugensis) have invaded lakes and rivers throughout North America and Europe, where they have been linked to dramatic changes in benthic invertebrate community diversity and abundance. Through a meta-analysis of published data from 47 sites, we developed statistical models of Dreissena impact on benthic macroinvertebrates across a broad range of habitats and environmental conditions. The introduction of Dreissena was generally associated with increased benthic macroinvertebrate density and taxonomic richness, and with decreased community evenness (of taxa excluding Dreissena). However, the strength of these effects varied with sediment particle size across sites. The effects of Dreissena differed among taxonomic and functional groups of macroinvertebrates, with positive effects on the densities of scrapers and predators, particularly leeches (Hirudinea), flatworms (Turbellaria), and mayflies (Ephemeroptera). Gastropod densities increased in the presence of Dreissena, but large-bodied snail taxa tended to decline. Dreissena was associated with declines in the densities sphaeriid clams and other large filter-feeding taxa, as well as burrowing amphipods (Diporeia spp.), but had strong positive effects on gammarid amphipods. These patterns are robust to variation in the methodology of primary studies. The effects of Dreissena are remarkably concordant with those of ecologically similar species, suggesting universality in the interactions between introduced byssally attached mussels and other macroinvertebrates.
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Keywords: Biodiversity; biological invasions; ecosystem engineer; exotic species; facilitation; freshwater ecosystems; statistical models; zebra mussel; zoobenthos

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 March 2007

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