Commercially important species associated with horse mussel (Modiolus modiolus) biogenic reefs: a priority habitat for nature conservation and fisheries benefits

Kent, F. E.A., Mair, J. M., Newton, J. , Lindenbaum, C., Porter, J. S. and Sanderson, W. G. (2017) Commercially important species associated with horse mussel (Modiolus modiolus) biogenic reefs: a priority habitat for nature conservation and fisheries benefits. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 118(1-2), pp. 71-78. (doi:10.1016/j.marpolbul.2017.02.051)

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Abstract

Horse mussel reefs (Modiolus modiolus) are biodiversity hotspots afforded protection by Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) in the NE Atlantic. In this study, horse mussel reefs, cobble habitats and sandy habitats were assessed using underwater visual census and drop-down video techniques in three UK regions. Megafauna were enumerated, differences in community composition and individual species abundances were analysed. Samples of conspicuous megafauna were also collected from horse mussel reefs in Orkney for stable isotope analysis. Communities of conspicuous megafauna were different between horse mussel habitats and other habitats throughout their range. Three commercially important species: whelks (Buccinum undatum), queen scallops (Aequipecten opercularis) and spider crabs (Maja brachydactyla) were significantly more abundant (by as much as 20 times) on horse mussel reefs than elsewhere. Isotopic analysis provided insights into their trophic relationship with the horse mussel reef. Protection of M. modiolus habitat can achieve biodiversity conservation objectives whilst benefiting fisheries also.

Item Type:Articles
Additional Information:This project received support from the MASTS pooling initiative (the Marine Alliance for Science and Technology for Scotland) funded by the Scottish Funding Council (grant reference HR09011).
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Newton, Dr Jason
Authors: Kent, F. E.A., Mair, J. M., Newton, J., Lindenbaum, C., Porter, J. S., and Sanderson, W. G.
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > Scottish Universities Environmental Research Centre
Journal Name:Marine Pollution Bulletin
Publisher:Elsevier
ISSN:0025-326X
ISSN (Online):1879-3363
Published Online:17 February 2017

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