Publications: Peer-reviewed journal articles (by staff)

Differential effects of adult mussels on the retention and fine-scale distribution of juvenile seed mussels and biofouling organisms in long-line aquaculture

26 July, 2017
CITATION

South PM, Floerl O, Jeffs A 2017. Differential effects of adult mussels on the retention and fine-scale distribution of juvenile seed mussels and biofouling organisms in long-line aquaculture. Aquaculture Environment Interactions 9: 239-256.

DOI link here.

ABSTRACT

The majority of juvenile seed mussels are lost in aquaculture production. Understanding the causes of the losses of seed mussels is critical to reducing uncertainties in mussel aquaculture production. One major cause of loss appears to be the secondary settlement behaviour of mussels, which is thought to be a behavioural process by which larger juveniles can safely recruit among adults. This implies that once a juvenile mussel has settled among adults, there is either some impetus to remain or other positive interactions that promote increased survival. In this study, 2 densities (5 and 20 per 45 cm experimental rope) of adult green-lipped mussels Perna canaliculus were deployed alongside juvenile seed mussels to test whether this enhanced the retention of the juveniles in a typical suspended culture. Adult shells were also deployed to ascertain whether any effects were due to the physical presence of the mussels or the influence of their biological functioning. The presence of adult mussels or shells did not increase the retention of juvenile P. canaliculus, but small-scale movements of juveniles were increased by the addition of 20 live adult mussels per experimental rope. However, the presence of adult mussels and mussel shells on experimental ropes greatly increased the abundance of biofouling organisms. While the addition of live adult mussels or shells failed to provide a simple tool for increasing retention of seed mussels on aquaculture lines, they offer new insights into the identity and ecology of key biofouling organisms that can be problematic in mussel aquaculture production.