Skip to main content Accessibility help

Effect of an invasive filter-feeder on the zooplankton assemblage in a coastal lagoon

  • Martin Bruschetti (a1) (a2), Tomas Luppi (a1) (a2) and Oscar Iribarne (a1) (a2)


Depletion of phytoplankton biomass by the introduced reef-forming polychaete Ficopomatus enigmaticus has previously been observed in the Mar Chiquita lagoon (37°40′S 57°23′W; Argentina), but the effect of polychaetes on the higher trophic levels is still unknown. To evaluate the effect of this polychaete on the zooplankton assemblage, replicated mesocosm experiments (N = 10) were performed during spring, summer and winter. Mesocosms with reefs and without reefs were installed and grazing intensity and the effect on the zooplankton assemblage by the polychaetes were assessed. Our results show that the reefs of F. enigmaticus generate minor changes in overall composition of zooplankton assemblage. Although the structure of the zooplankton assemblage was different between seasons, the impact of the reefs was not significant in any of them. There was no relationship between the decline of food resource by grazing and changes in the structure of the zooplankton assemblage. Thus, contrary to our hypothesis, the grazing impact of the invasive polychaete on the biomass of primary producers did not generate cascading effects to higher trophic levels. However, changes in some components of the zooplankton assemblage (e.g. cladocerans) clearly show that the reefs of F. enigmaticus have the potential to affect the structure of the zooplankton community. The lack of data of community composition and abundance of zooplankton before the invasion limits the understanding of how this polychaete might have affected the structure and abundance of the zooplankton of this lagoon. Nevertheless this work suggests that these changes may not be so significant.


Corresponding author

Correspondence should be addressed to: M. Bruschetti, Instituto de Investigaciones Marinas y Costeras (IIMyC), Universidad Nacional de Mar del Plata - CONICET. CC 573 Correo Central. B7600WAG, Mar del Plata, Argentina. email:


Hide All
Allen, I.E. (1953) Distribution of marine invertebrates by ships. Australian Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research 4, 307316.
Anderson, M.J., Gorley, R.N. and Clarke, K.R. (2008) PERMANOVA + for PRIMER: Guide to software and statistical methods. Plymouth: PRIMER-E.
Bazterrica, M.C., Botto, F. and Iribarne, O.O. (2012) Effects of an invasive reef-building polychaete on the biomass and composition of estuarine macroalgal assemblages. Biological Invasions 14, 765777.
Bianchi, C.N. and Morri, M. (2001) The battle is not the strong: serpulids reefs in the lagoon of Orbetello (Tuscany, Italy), 2001. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science 53, 215220.
Bingham, B.L. and Walters, L.J. (1989) Solitary ascidians as predators of invertebrate larvae – evidence from gut analyses and plankton samples. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 131, 147159.
Brown, L.R. and Moyle, P.B. (1991) Changes in habitat and micro-habitat partitioning within an assemblage of stream fishes in response to predation by Sacramento squawfish (Ptychocheilus grandis). Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Science 48, 849856.
Bruschetti, C.M., Fanjul, E., Rosenthal, A., Luppi, T.A. and Iribarne, O. (2008) Grazing effect of the invasive reef-forming polychaete Ficopomatus enigmaticus (Fauvel) on phytoplankton biomass in a SW Atlantic coastal lagoon. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 354, 212219.
Bruschetti, M., Bazterrica, C., Fanjul, M.E., Luppi, T. and Iribarne, O. (2011) Effect of biodeposition of an invasive polychaete on organic matter content and productivity of the sediment in a coastal lagoon. Journal of Sea Research 66, 2028.
Bruschetti, M., Bazterrica, C., Luppi, T. and Iribarne, O. (2009) An invasive intertidal reef-forming polychaete affect habitat use and feeding behavior of migratory and locals birds in a SW Atlantic coastal lagoon. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 375, 7683.
Byers, J.E. (2000) Competition between two estuarine snails: implications for invasions of exotic species. Ecology 81, 12251239.
Caraco, N.F., Cole, J.J. and Strayer, D.L. (2006) Top-down control from the bottom: regulation of eutrophication in a large river by benthic grazing. Limnology and Oceanography 51, 664670.
Chauvand, L., Ragueneau, J.F. and Thouseau, G. (2000) Long-term variation of the Bay of Brest ecosystem: benthic-pelagic coupling revisited. Marine Ecology Progress Series 200, 3548.
Clarke, K.R. and Gorley, R.N. (2006) PRIMER v6: user manual/tutorial. Plymouth: PRIMER-E, 190 pp.
Clarke, K.R. and Warwick, R.M. (2001) Change in marine communities: an approach to statistical analysis and interpretation, 2nd edn. Plymouth: Plymouth Marine Laboratory.
Darrigran, G. (2002) Potential impact of filter-feeding invaders on temperate inland freshwater environments. Biological Invasions 4, 145156.
Davenport, J., Smith, R.J.J.W. and Packer, M. (2000) Mussels Mytilus edulis: significant consumers and destroyers of mesozooplankton. Marine Ecology Progress Series 198, 131137.
Davies, B.R., Stuart, V. and de Villiers, M. (1989) The filtration activity of a serpulid polychaete population Ficopomatus enigmaticus (Fauvel) and its effects on water quality in a coastal marina. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science 29, 613620.
Deneke, R. and Nixdorf, B. (1999) On the occurrence of clear-water phases in relation to shallowness and trophic state: a comparative study. Hydrobiologia 408, 251262.
Descy, J.P., Everbecq, E., Gosselain, V., Viroux, L. and Smitz, J.S. (2003) Modelling the impact of benthic filter-feeders on the composition and biomass of river plankton. Freshwater Biology 48, 404417.
Dixon, D.R. (1981) Reproductive biology of the serpulid Ficopomatus (Mercierella) enigmaticus in the Thames Estuary, S.E. England. Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom 61, 805815.
Dodson, S.I. and Frey, D.G. (1991) Cladocera and other Branchiopoda. In Thorp, J. and Covich, A.P. (eds) Ecology and classification of North American freshwater invertebrates. San Diego, CA: Academic Press, pp. 723785.
Dolmer, P. (2000) Feeding activity of mussels Mytilus edulis related to near-bed currents and phytoplankton biomass. Journal of Sea Research 44, 221231.
Elliott, D.T. and Kaufmann, R.S. (2007) Spatial and temporal variability of mesozooplankton and tintinnid ciliates in a seasonally hypersaline estuary. Estuarine and Coasts 30, 418430.
Fahnenstiel, G., Lang, G., Nalepa, T. and Johengen, T. (1995) Effects of zebra mussel (Dreissena polymorpha) colonization on water quality parameters in Saginaw Bay, Lake Huron. Journal of Great Lakes Research 21, 435444.
Fasano, J.L., Hernández, M.A., Isla, F.I. and Schnack, E.J. (1982) Aspectos evolutivos y ambientales de la laguna Mar Chiquita (Provincia de Buenos Aires, Argentina). Oceanologica Acta 4, 285292.
Fornós, J.J., Corteza, V. and Martínez-Taverner, A. (1997) Modern polychaete reefs in Western Mediterranean lagoons: Ficopomatus enigmaticus (Fauvel) in the Albufera of Menorca, Balearic Islands. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 128, 175186.
Geller, W. and Müller, H. (1981) The filtration apparatus of Cladocera: filter mesh-sizes and their implications on food selectivity. Oecologia 49, 316321.
Hahn, D.R. (2003) Alteration of microbial community composition and changes in decomposition associated with an invasive intertidal macrophyte. Biological Invasions 5, 4551.
Heck, K. and Valentine, J. (2007) The primacy of top-down effects in shallow benthic ecosystems. Estuaries and Coasts 30, 371381.
Hwang, S., Kim, H., Shin, J., Oh, J. and Kong, D. (2004) Grazing effects of a freshwater bivalve (Corbicula leana Prime) and large zooplankton on phytoplankton communities in two Korean lakes. Hydrobiologia 515, 161179.
Idrisi, N., Mills, E.L., Rudstam, L.G. and Stewart, D.J. (2001) Impact of zebra mussel (Dreissena polymorpha) on the pelagic lower trophic levels of Oneida Lake, New York. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 58, 14301441.
Jack, J.D. and Thorp, J.H. (2000) Effects of the benthic suspension feeder Dreissena polymorpha on zooplankton in a large river. Freshwater Biology 44, 569579.
Jewett, E.B., Hines, A.H. and Ruiz, G.M. (2005) Epifaunal disturbance by periodic low levels of dissolved oxygen: native vs. invasive species. Marine Ecology Progress Series 304, 3144.
Jordana, E., Charles, F., Gremare, A., Amouroux, J. and Chretiennot-Dinet, M.J. (2001a) Food sources, ingestion and absorption in the suspension-feeding polychaete, Ditrupa arietina (O.F. Muller). Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 266, 219236.
Jordana, E., Duchêne, J.C., Charles, F., Grémare, A. and Amouroux, J.M. (2000) Experimental study of suspension-feeding activity in the serpulid polychaete Ditrupa arietina (O.F. Müller). Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 252, 5774.
Jordana, E., Gremare, A., Lantoine, F., Courties, C., Charles, F., Amouroux, J. and Vétion, G. (2001b) Seasonal changes in the grazing of coastal picoplankton by the suspension-feeding polychaete Ditrupa arietina (O.F. Muller). Journal of Sea Research 46, 254259.
Kimmerer, W.J., Gartside, E. and Orsi, J. (1994) Predation by an introduced clam as the likely cause of substantial declines in zooplankton of San Francisco Bay. Marine Ecology Progress Series 113, 8193.
Lanfredi, N.W., Balestrini, C.F., Mazio, C.A. and Schmidt, S.A. (1987) Tidal sandbanks in Mar Chiquita coastal lagoon, Argentina. Journal of Coastal Research 3, 515520.
Laprise, R. and Dodson, J.J. (1994) Environmental variability as a factor controlling spatial patterns in distribution and species diversity of zooplankton in the St. Lawrence Estuary. Marine Ecology Progress Series 107, 6781.
Lonsdale, D.J., Cerrato, R.M., Caron, D.A. and Schaffner, R.A. (2007) Zooplankton changes associated with grazing pressure of northern quahogs (Mercenaria mercenaria L.) in experimental mesocosms. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science 73, 101110.
Luppi, T. and Bas, C. (2002) The role of the invasive polychaete Ficopomatus enigmaticus Fauvel 1923 (Polychaeta: Serpulidae) reefs in the recruitment of Cyrtograpsus angulatus Dana 1851 (Brachyura: Grapsidae), in the Mar Chiquita coastal lagoon, Argentina. Ciencias Marinas 28, 319330.
Mack, M.C. and D'Antonio, C.M. (1998) Impacts of biological invasions on disturbance regimes. Trends in Ecology and Evolution 13, 195198.
MacIsaac, H.J. (1996) Potential biotic and abiotic impacts of zebra mussel on the inland waters of North America. American Zoologist 36, 287299.
MacIsaac, H.J., Lonee, C.J. and Leach, J.H. (1995) Suppression of microzooplankton by zebra mussel: importance of mussel size. Freshwater Biology 34, 379387.
Méndez Casariego, A., Schwindt, E. and Iribarne, O. (2004) Evidence of habitat structure-generated bottleneck in the recruitment process of the SW Atlantic crab Cyrtograpsus angulatus . Marine Biology 145, 259264.
Muniz, P., Clemente, J. and Brugnoli, E. (2005) Benthic invasive pests in Uruguay: a new problem or an old one recently perceived? Marine Pollution Bulletin 50, 9931018.
Nelson, K.A., Leonard, L.A., Posey, M.H., Alphin, T.D. and Mallin, M.A. (2004) Using transplanted oyster (Crassostrea virginica) beds to improve water quality in small tidal creeks: a pilot study. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 298, 347368.
Officer, C.B., Smayda, T.J. and Mann, R. (1982) Benthic filter feeding: a natural eutrophication control. Marine Ecology Progress Series 9, 203210.
Orensanz, J.M. and Estivariz, M.C. (1972) Los anélidos poliquetos de aguas salobres de la Provincia de Buenos Aires. Revista del Museo La Plata, Universidad Nacional de La Plata 11, 95112.
Pan, J. and Marcoval, M.A. (2014) Top-down effects of an exotic serpulid polychaete on natural plankton assemblage of estuarine and brackish systems in the SW Atlantic. Journal of Coastal Research 30, 12261235.
Petersen, J.K. and Riisgaard, H.U. (1992) Filtration capacity of the ascidian Ciona intestinalis and its grazing impact in a shallow fjord. Marine Ecology Progress Series 88, 917.
Pomeroy, L., Délia, C. and Schaffner, L. (2006) Limits to top-down control of phytoplankton by oysters in Chesapeake Bay. Marine Ecology Progress Series 325, 301309.
Postel, L., Fock, H. and Hagen, W. (2000) Biomass and abundance. In Harris, R.P., Wieb, P.H., Lenz, J., Skjoldal, H.R. and Huntley, M. (eds) ICES zooplankton methodology manual. London: Academic Press, pp. 83174.
Prins, T.C., Smaal, A.C. and Dame, R.F. (1998) A review of the feedbacks between bivalve grazing and ecosystem processes. Aquatic Ecology 31, 349359.
Read, G.B. and Gordon, D. (1991) Adventive occurrence of the fouling serpulid Ficopomatus enigmaticus (Polychaeta) in New Zealand. New Zealand Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research 25, 269273.
Reise, K.S., Olenin, S. and Thieltges, D.W. (2006) Are aliens threatening European aquatic coastal ecosystems? Helgoland Marine Research 60, 7783.
Reta, R., Martos, P., Perillo, G., Piccolo, M.C. and Ferrante, A. (2001) Características hidrográficas del estuario de la laguna Mar Chiquita. In Iribarne, O. (ed.) Reserva de biosfera Mar Chiquita: Características, físicas, biológicas y ecológicas. Argentina: Editorial Martin, pp. 3152.
Riisgaard, H.U., Grémare, A., Amouroux, J.M., Charles, F., Vétion, G., Rosenberg, R. and Nielsen, C. (2002) Comparative study of water-processing in two ciliary filter-feeding polychaetes (Ditrupa arietina and Euchone papillosa) from two different habitats. Marine Ecological Progress Series 229, 113126.
Riisgaard, H.U. and Ivarsson, N.M. (1990) The crown filament pump of the suspension-feeding polychaete Sabella penicillus: filtration, effects of temperature, and energy cost. Marine Ecology Progress Series 62, 249257.
Riisgaard, H.U., Seerup, D.F., Jensen, M.H., Glob, E. and Larsen, P.S. (2004) Grazing impact of filter-feeding zoobenthos in a Danish fjord. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 307, 261271.
Rioja, E. (1943) Estudios Anelidiológicos IX. La presencia de la Mercierella enigmatica Fauvel, en las costas argentinas. Anales del Instituto de Biología (México) 14, 547551.
Ruiz, G., Carlton, J. and Grosholz, E. (1997) Global invasions of marine and estuarine habitats by non-indigenous species: mechanisms, extent, and consequences. American Zoologist 37, 621632.
Schindler, D.E., Knapp, R.A. and Leavitt, P.R. (2001) Alteration of nutrient cycles and algal production resulting from fish introductions into mountain lakes. Ecosystems 4, 308321.
Schwindt, E., Bortolus, A. and Iribarne, O.O. (2001) Invasion of a reef-builder polychaete: direct and indirect impacts on the native benthic community structure. Biological Invasion 3, 137149.
Schwindt, E., Iribarne, O. and Isla, I. (2004) Physical effects of an invading reef-building polychaete on an Argentinean estuarine environment. Estuarine Coastal and Shelf Science 59, 109120.
Sommer, U. and Sommer, F. (2006) Cladocerans versus copepods: the cause of contrasting top-down controls on freshwater and marine phytoplankton. Oecologia 147, 183–94.
Soetaert, K. and Van Rijswijk, P. (1993) Spatial and temporal patterns of the zooplankton in the Westerschelde estuary. Marine Ecology Progress Series 97, 4759.
Sousa, R., Gutierrez, J.L. and Aldridge, D.C. (2009) Non-indigenous invasive bivalves as ecosystem engineers. Biological Invasions 11, 23672385.
Tessier, A.J. (1986) Comparative population regulation of two planktonic cladocera (Holopedium gibberum and Daphnia catawba). Ecology 67, 285302.
Underwood, A.J. (1997) Experiments in ecology: their logical design and interpretation using analysis of variance. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Wetz, M.S., Lewitus, A.J., Koepfler, E.T. and Hayes, K.C. (2002) Impact of the Eastern oyster Crassostrea virginica on microbial community structure in a salt marsh estuary. Aquatic Microbial Ecology 28, 8797.
Zar, J.H. (1999) Biostatistical analysis, 4th edn. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.


Effect of an invasive filter-feeder on the zooplankton assemblage in a coastal lagoon

  • Martin Bruschetti (a1) (a2), Tomas Luppi (a1) (a2) and Oscar Iribarne (a1) (a2)


Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed