Population development of the invasive crab Hemigrapsus sanguineus (De Haan, 1853) and its potential native competitor Carcinus maenas (Linnaeus, 1758) at Helgoland (North Sea) between 2009 and 2014


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Abstract

The Asian shore crab Hemigrapsus sanguineus (De Haan, 1853) has recently established populations in the North Sea and now occurs within the native ranges of the green crab Carcinus maenas (Linnaeus, 1758). To determine potential competitive effects and to assess the progress of the invasion, species-specific population characteristics (numerical abundances, biomasses, and size distributions) of the two species around the island of Helgoland (German Bight, southern North Sea) were compared for surveys conducted in 2009 and 2014. Sampling sites were chosen based on accessibility and differed in their topography and wave exposure, which allowed testing for the influence of these factors on the establishment success of H. sanguineus. The numerical abundance and biomass of H. sanguineus increased markedly and approached those of C. maenas in 2014. At a sheltered site, H. sanguineus even outnumbered C. maenas, whereas the converse was observed at a site exposed to strong winds and waves. Although such contrasting abundance patterns between the native and the introduced shore crab may be the result of direct interference, the dominance of H. sanguineus at the sheltered site may also be explained by enhanced larval settling rates caused by odors of conspecifics. The results suggest that the invasion of H. sanguineus has not yet reached its equilibrium, and population abundances in the North Sea are expected to further increase in the future.



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42490
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Jungblut, S. , Beermann, J. , Boos, K. , Saborowski, R. and Hagen, W. (2017): Population development of the invasive crab Hemigrapsus sanguineus (De Haan, 1853) and its potential native competitor Carcinus maenas (Linnaeus, 1758) at Helgoland (North Sea) between 2009 and 2014 , Aquatic Invasions, 12 .


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