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Biological Invasions of Mudflats

  • Jennifer RuesinkEmail author
Chapter
Part of the Aquatic Ecology Series book series (AQEC, volume 7)

Abstract

Thousands of marine species have been moved around the globe by human activities, at increasing rates over the past century. Many of these species (here termed “alien”) have taken up residence on mudflats. How are mudflats changing as a consequence of this biological reshuffling? The preceding chapters document mudflats as productive environments with strong species interactions, which both shape and are shaped by the physical environment. The same pattern appears when alien species are added to the system. Attributes of the physical environment play strong roles in determining the success of different alien species on mudflats, while many high-impact alien species create biogenic structure and/or modify sediment stability. Above-ground habitat complexity from alien vegetation or reefs can facilitate both alien and native species, but it can also interfere with infauna and birds that depend on an unimpeded sediment interface or particular grain size. Most mudflat aliens, however, simply add to the diversity and linkages of native communities. The biological changes from invasions are occurring within a context of other global changes, all likely to interact because alien species can be promoted by anthropogenic hard structure and warming temperatures.

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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.BiologyUniversity of WashingtonSeattleUSA

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