Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Bad neighbors? Niche overlap and asymmetric competition between native and Lessepsian limpets in the Eastern Mediterranean rocky intertidal.

Abstract

The Eastern Mediterranean Sea hosts more non-indigenous species than any other marine region, yet their impacts on the native biota remain poorly understood. Focusing on mollusks from the Israeli rocky intertidal, we explored the hypothesis that this abiotically harsh habitat supports a limited trait diversity, and thus may promote niche overlap and competition between native and non-indigenous species. Indeed, native and non-indigenous assemblage components often had a highly similar trait composition, caused by functionally similar native (Patella caerulea) and non-indigenous (Cellana rota) limpets. Body size of P. caerulea decreased with increasing C. rota prevalence, but not vice versa, indicating potential asymmetric competition. Although both species have coexisted in Israel for > 15 years, a rapid 'replacement' of native limpets by C. rota has been reported for a thermally polluted site, suggesting that competition and regionally rapid climate-related seawater warming might interact to progressively erode native limpet performance along the Israeli coast.