Human activities have, in many unprecedented ways, accelerated biological shifts and nuances in our planet. Such is the case for
and its inhabitants. A slew of anthropogenic activities such as land and
sea-based transportation, sedimentation, fisheries, and reclamation and land conversion
has put the ecosystem at high risk for biological invasions. Manila Bay
Meet the Charru mussel Mytella charruana, a newly reported species in
Manila Bay, which has been previously documented to be
invasive in .
A team of researchers led by Dr. Benjamin Vallejo (University of the
Philippines Diliman) and SeaLifeBase staff, Jeniffer Conejar-Espedido
(University of the Philippines Los Banos) confirms its first recorded presence in
the area. Previously identified as Mytilus
spp., the bivalve was later identified via DNA barcoding to be Mytella charruana, suggesting its
phylogenetic position within the Perna clade.
Increasing trend in its abundance from 2014 to 2015 indicates likelihood of establishment
and probable competition with the native mussel Perna viridis. Florida
|Mytella charruana from the Manila Bay PICES |
collectors. Photographs by J. Conejar-Espedido.
Researchers suggest it is likely to have been introduced via ballast water or through fouled ship hulls. Since mytilids in general adapt and highly reproduce in estuarine and coastal conditions, the persistence of M. charruana is likely.
The spat was first observed at the start of southwest monsoon rainy season. Assuming it has a similar life history profile as that of P. viridis, its introduction must have occurred between late April and early May 2014. This suggests possible competition between the two species. The increasing abundance of M. charruana also indicates its establishment in
, but this is yet to
be verified in succeeding years. How it could affect the populations of the
native P. viridus is, however, is unknown.
Further studies on the reproduction, ecology, community dynamics and population
genetics are recommended. Manila
Dr. Vallejo’s team also includes, Leanna Manubag, Kevin Carlo Artiaga, Amor Damatac II, Ivan Christian Imperial, Tyrll Adolf Itong, Ian Kendrich Fontanilla and Ernelea Cao.
You can access the full paper at (http://www.reabic.net/journals/bir/2017/1/BIR_2017_Vallejo_etal.pdf).