Mussel reefs on soft sediments: a severely reduced but important habitat for macroinvertebrates and fishes in New Zealand

McLeod, I.M., Parsons, D.M., Morrison, M.A., Van Dijken, S.G., and Taylor, R.B. (2014) Mussel reefs on soft sediments: a severely reduced but important habitat for macroinvertebrates and fishes in New Zealand. New Zealand Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research, 48 (1). pp. 48-59.

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Abstract

Green-lipped mussels (Perna canaliculus) formed extensive reefs on soft sediments in sheltered embayments around northern New Zealand until overfishing and/or increased sediment input caused their virtual disappearance by 1980. To determine the role of mussel reefs as habitat for other animals, we located remnant soft-sediment reefs in five locations and compared the density, biomass, productivity and composition of mobile macroinvertebrate communities, and the density of small fishes associated with mussels, with fauna in the surrounding soft sediments. The mussel reefs had a distinct assemblage of macroinvertebrates, which had 3.5 times the density, 3.4 times the biomass and 3.5 times the productivity of surrounding areas. The density of small fishes was 13.7 times higher than in surrounding areas. These results show that soft- sediment mussel reefs support an abundant and productive fauna, highlighting the probable large loss of productivity associated with the historical decline in mussel habitat and the consequent desirability of restoration efforts.

Item ID: 35175
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1175-8805
Keywords: biogenic habitat; bivalve reef; ecosystem engineer; mussel; New Zealand; Perna canaliculus; sediment
Funders: Auckland Regional Council Student Partnership Programme, Hutton Fund
Date Deposited: 24 Sep 2014 04:29
FoR Codes: 06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0602 Ecology > 060205 Marine and Estuarine Ecology (incl Marine Ichthyology) @ 100%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9605 Ecosystem Assessment and Management > 960507 Ecosystem Assessment and Management of Marine Environments @ 100%
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