Marine Biology

, Volume 154, Issue 5, pp 919–928 | Cite as

Growth and survival differences among native, introduced and hybrid blue mussels (Mytilus spp.): genotype, environment and interaction effects

  • Jody L. Shields
  • Penny Barnes
  • Daniel D. HeathEmail author
Original Paper


The Mytilus species complex consists of three closely related mussel species: Mytilus trossulus, Mytilus edulis, and Mytilus galloprovincialis, which are found globally in temperate intertidal waters. Introduction of one or more of these species have occurred world-wide via shipping and aquaculture. Stable hybrid zones have developed in areas where these species have come into contact, making the invasion process complex. On the east coast of Vancouver Island (VI), British Columbia (BC), Canada, the native (M. trossulus) and introduced species (M. edulis and M. galloprovincialis), as well as their hybrid offspring, occur sympatrically. This study used a common environment experiment to quantify growth and survival differences among native, introduced, and introgressed mussels on VI. Mussels were collected from an area of known hybridization and reared in cages from May to August 2006. The cages were deployed at a local site as well as a remote site (approximately 150 km apart), and the mussels were genotyped at two species-specific loci. Growth and survival, as fitness measures, were monitored: native, introduced, and introgressed individuals were compared between and within sites to determine whether growth and survival were independent of site and genotype. Overall, mussels reared at Quadra Island performed better than locally-reared mussels at Ladysmith. Specifically, introgressed mussels reared at Quadra Island performed better than all genotypes reared at Ladysmith, as well as better than native mussels reared at Quadra Island. Differences in survival and growth among the native, introduced and introgressed mussels may serve to explain the complex hybridization patterns and dynamics characteristic of the VI introgression zone.


Relative Growth Rate Shell Length British Columbia Hybrid Zone Relative Fitness 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



We thank B. Dixon, V. A. Heath, J. W. Heath, W. Callery, A. Burgoyne and M. J. Shields for assistance in the field; R. P. Walter and D. W. Kelly for valuable critical reviews; and J. Muirhead for statistical assistance. Field work was supported by Yellow Island Aquaculture Ltd., the Ladysmith Maritime Society, and the Centre for Shellfish Research. This project was funded by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, Canada, and by Natural Science and Engineering Council of Canada Discovery and Canada Research Chair grants to DDH. This study complies with the current laws of Canada.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jody L. Shields
    • 1
    • 2
  • Penny Barnes
    • 3
  • Daniel D. Heath
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.Lehrstuhl für Zoologie und Evolutionsbiologie, Fachbereich BiologieUniversität KonstanzConstanceGermany
  2. 2.Great Lakes Institute for Environmental ResearchUniversity of WindsorWindsorCanada
  3. 3.Centre for Shellfish ResearchMalaspina University CollegeNanaimoCanada

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