Biodiversity & Conservation

, Volume 14, Issue 7, pp 1761–1776 | Cite as

Intertidal assemblages associated with naturalcorallina turf and invasive mussel beds

  • M.G. Chapman
  • J. People
  • D. Blockley


There is considerable concern about conservation of biodiversity in highly disturbed and urbanized environments, although a very large proportion of biodiversity (i.e. the small and cryptic invertebrates) have been little studied in this regard. Many biogenic structures (e.g. coral reefs, mussel beds, foliose algae) provide habitat for a large number of small invertebrates. The features of these habitats to which these animals respond are complex and poorly documented. Invasive species are increasing in abundance and diversity in many disturbed estuaries, but most previous studies have concentrated on effects of invasive species on surrounding macroscopic assemblages. This study examines the assemblages of small invertebrates and algae living in natural patches of coralline turf and in patches of the invasive mussel, Mytilus galloprovincialis, on seawalls in Sydney Harbour. Although most taxa identified were common to both habitats, they were generally more abundant in turf than in the mussels, especially the more widespread and numerous taxa. Few taxa were unique to either habitat and those were generally sparse and patchy. In addition, there were relatively more smaller animals in the algal turf than in the mussels, although it is not known whether these were juveniles of adults present in both habitats, or different species. These data show that coralline turf and mussel beds do not provide similar intertidal habitat for associated assemblages and that overgrowth of natural biota by mussels may have strong indirect effects on associated assemblages. These warrant further experimental investigation, so that the effects of invasive species on local biodiversity can be better understood and managed.


Algae Intertidal assemblage Invasive mussel Invertebrate diversity 


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Copyright information

© Springer 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for Research on Ecological Impacts of Coastal Cities, Marine Ecology Laboratories A11University of SydneyNSWAustralia

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