University of Tasmania

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Stronger positive association between an invasive crab and a native intertidal ecosystem engineer with increasing wave exposure

journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-19, 22:42 authored by Jeffrey WrightJeffrey Wright, Holmes, ZC, Byers, JE
Ecosystem engineers are predicted to have stronger facilitative effects when environmental stress is higher. Here we examined whether facilitation of the invasive porcelain crab Petrolisthes elongatus by the ecosystem engineering serpulid tube worm Galeolaria caespitosa increased with wave exposure. Petrolisthes occurs beneath intertidal boulders which often have a high cover of Galeolaria on their underside. Surveys across nine sites demonstrated Petrolisthes abundance beneath boulders increased with wave exposure and Galeolaria cover, although only when the habitat matrix beneath boulders was rock or mixed rock and sand. Moreover, as wave exposure increased, the strength of relationship between Petrolisthes abundance and the surface area of Galeolaria also increased. Experimentally, the presence of Galeolaria on the underside of boulders increased Petrolisthes abundance by 50% compared to boulders lacking Galeolaria. Our findings suggest the facilitative role of Galeolaria is stronger at more wave-exposed sites, which appears to contribute to a higher abundance of invasive Petrolisthes.


Publication title

Marine Environmental Research








Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies


Elsevier Sci Ltd

Place of publication

The Boulevard, Langford Lane, Kidlington, Oxford, England, Oxon, Ox5 1Gb

Rights statement

Copyright 2018 Elsevier Ltd.

Repository Status

  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Control of pests, diseases and exotic species in coastal and estuarine environments; Marine biodiversity; Assessment and management of terrestrial ecosystems