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Sessile biota fouling farmed mussels: diversity, spatio-temporal patterns, and implications for the basibiont

  • Chryssanthi Antoniadou (a1), Eleni Voultsiadou (a1), Abdalnasser Rayann (a1) and Chariton Chintiroglou (a1)


The structure of sessile epibiotic assemblages fouling the shells of farmed populations of the common Mediterranean mussel Mytilus galloprovincialis, a species known to be involved in ecosystem engineering processes, was investigated in the north Aegean Sea. Mussel samples were collected from three aquaculture installations and all sessile organisms were examined. Fifteen species were recorded, one macroalga and 14 macro-invertebrates. Four colonial species covered up to 20% of the mussel shell. Among solitary organisms, polychaetes dominated followed by barnacles. The diversity of sessile epibionts associated with farmed mussel populations was comparable to that observed on natural mussel beds in contrast to their abundance/cover, which was higher in the former, possibly due to the higher trophic status in the farming areas. The structure of epibiotic assemblages exhibited limited variability at the spatial scale, in general. On the contrary, strong temporal variability with decreased diversity and abundance/cover values during the cold period of the year was assessed, in accordance with the life cycles of species involved and prevailing environmental conditions. Mussel epibionts appeared to have a negative impact on their basibiont since a reduced condition index was detected; however this impact was rather weak and further data are required to generalize the consequences of epibiosis on farmed mussels.


Corresponding author

Correspondence should be addressed to: C. Antoniadou, Aristotle University, School of Biology, Department of Zoology, Thessaloniki, Greece email:


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Sessile biota fouling farmed mussels: diversity, spatio-temporal patterns, and implications for the basibiont

  • Chryssanthi Antoniadou (a1), Eleni Voultsiadou (a1), Abdalnasser Rayann (a1) and Chariton Chintiroglou (a1)


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