Between 2004 and 2012, populations of Mediterranean mussel (Mytilus galloprovincialis) and rapa whelk (Rapana venosa) from the coastal waters of Zmiinyi Island (Black Sea) were assessed for distribution, abundance, size, and age characteristics. Compared to 2004–2005, the mussel bed cover in 2012 decreased by 75.6%, the maximum depth of occurrence reduced from 22–25 m to 10–12 m, and total biomass declined by 44.6%. There was a concurrent decrease in abundance of demersal fishes dependent upon mussels as prey. We concluded that the invasive rapa whelk has had a detrimental impact on this demersal ecosystem. The possible influence of the introduced ctenophore Mnemiopsis leidyi on the two mollusc’s populations has also been discussed.
Research was carried out under the framework of research activities funded by the Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine (2003–2012) and as a contributions to the European FP7 projects No. 226740 EnviroGRIDS (Building Capacity for a Black Sea Catchment Observation and Assessment System supporting Sustainable Development) and No. 287600 PERSEUS "Policyoriented marine Environmental Research for the Southern European Seas". We would like to thank the staff of the Regional Centre for Integrated Environmental Monitoring and Ecological Studies of the Odessa National I.I. Mechnikov University for field
sampling and observations at the MRS "Zmiinyi Island". Many thanks to Yevgen Gazetov and Tatyana Pavlik for their help in mapping the distribution of mussel colonies in the Zmiinyi Island coastal waters, as well as Roman Sizo (NGO "Centre of Regional Studies", Odesa, Ukraine) for the map preparation and Dr. J. M.
Hanson (Gulf Fisheries Centre, Moncton, Canada) for his valuable comments and suggestions.
- Rapana venosa
- Mytilus galloprovincialis
- Black Sea
- community impacts