Respiration physiology and ecosystem impact of European and Asian shore crabs in a temperate European habitat

simon.jungblut [ at ]


Hemigrapsus sanguineus, the Asian shore crab, is a successful invader at the U.S. east coast and the European Atlantic coast, where populations are established from France to Germany. Numerous studies on behavioral aspects and population development are available, however, physiology and energetic impact of the invader on its ecosystem are virtually unknown. We measured respiration rates of H. sanguineus and its native equivalent, the European shore crab C. maenas, from the island of Helgoland, North Sea, Germany. Measurements were conducted at 5, 10, 15 and 20 °C, using a flow-through system. Specific respiration rates were overall similar for both species. Rates increased with temperature and decreased with the mass of the crab. Mass-standardized data revealed that small H. sanguineus showed significantly higher respiration rates at higher temperatures than C. maenas. This difference vanished with increasing crab size. Statistical modelling was used to develop species-specific equations to calculate a crab´s respiration rate in relation to its mass and the ambient temperature. Taking the overall biomass and temperature into account, the population respiration, carbon uptake and the metabolic energy demand, a measure for the population´s ecosystem impact, was calculated. In the Helgoland intertidal, total biomass of H. sanguineus is now about 59% of that of the C. maenas population but the cumulative metabolic energy demand represents already 78% of the value for C. maenas. With still increasing abundances of H. sanguineus and globally rising temperatures, the ecosystem impact of this invader will increase in the future.

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Conference (Talk)
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The Crustaxean Society Mid-Year Meeting, 19 Jun 2017 - 22 Jun 2017, Barcelona, Spain.
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Jungblut, S. , Boos, K. , McCarthy, M. , Saborowski, R. and Hagen, W. (2017): Respiration physiology and ecosystem impact of European and Asian shore crabs in a temperate European habitat , The Crustaxean Society Mid-Year Meeting, Barcelona, Spain, 19 June 2017 - 22 June 2017 .

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