Ecology of an Incipient Marine Biological Invasion: The Charru Mussel Mytella charruana d’Orbignyi, 1846 (Bivalvia: Mytilidae) in Manila Bay, Luzon, Philippines

Benjamin Vallejo Jr1,2,*, Jeniffer Conejar-Espedido3, and Leanna Manubag4,§

1Institute of Environmental Science and Meteorology, College of Science,
University of the Philippines Diliman, Diliman, Quezon City
2Science and Society Program, University of the Philippines Diliman, Diliman, Quezon City
3Institute of Biological Sciences, University of the Philippines Los Baños, College, Laguna
4Manila Ocean Park, Luneta, Manila
§Biodiversity Management Bureau, Department of Environment and
Natural Resources, North Avenue, Diliman, Quezon City

*Corresponding author: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


The study documents the initial colonization ecology of the Western Hemisphere’s non-indigenous mytilid Mytella charruana in the Port of Manila, Manila Bay. As part of a monitoring effort to document fouling communities using PICES collectors, a recruitment pulse of Mytella charruana was detected in Jul 2014. The recruits have persisted and established in the port. Also noted was the possible recruitment competition with other indigenous and non-indigenous bivalve species. Mytella recruits during the onset of the southwest monsoon rainy season. Based on Canonical Correspondence Analysis of recruit abundances with water quality parameters, Mytella, the green mussel Perna viridis, Musculista, and Brachidontes have a lower salinity niche and recruits on Amphibalanus and Hydroides biogenic substrates. Also examined was the possible competition between Mytella and Perna viridis, since these species have been used for mariculture. Perna is traditionally cultured in Manila Bay, while Mytella is proposed as a new species for mariculture in the Philippines. Based on the results and its physiological ecology, Mytella is likely to have a competitive advantage over Perna in estuaries like Manila Bay.


The establishment of marine non-indigenous species (MNIS) to new locations and habitats is one of the most serious consequences of global anthropogenic environment change which may impact on food security. For ecologists and biogeographers, the introduction of MNIS provides an unprecedented opportunity to directly study the role of environmental factors in structuring the ecological community and subsequent range expansion (Carlton 1996; Betancur-R et al. 2011) . . . . read more


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