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Introduction, dispersal and naturalization of the Manila clam Ruditapes philippinarum in British estuaries, 1980–2010

Introduction, dispersal and naturalization of the Manila clam Ruditapes philippinarum in British estuaries, 1980–2010
Introduction, dispersal and naturalization of the Manila clam Ruditapes philippinarum in British estuaries, 1980–2010
The introduction of the Manila clam into British coastal waters in the 1980s was contested by conservation agencies. While recognizing the value of the clam for aquaculture, the government decided that it posed no invasive risk, as British sea temperatures would prevent naturalization. This proved incorrect. Here we establish the pattern of introduction and spread of the species over the first 30 years of its presence in Britain. We report archival research on the sequence of licensed introductions and examine their relationship in time and space to the appearance of wild populations as revealed in the literature and by field surveys. By 2010 the species had naturalized in at least 11 estuaries in southern England. These included estuaries with no history of licensed introduction. In these cases activities such as storage of catch before market or deliberate unlicensed introduction represent the probable mechanisms of dispersal. In any event naturalization is not an inevitable consequence of introduction and the chances of establishment over the period in question were finely balanced. Consequently in Britain the species is not currently aggressively invasive and appears not to present significant risk to indigenous diversity or ecosystem function. However it is likely to gradually continue its spread should sea surface temperatures rise as predicted.
Manila clam, Ruditapes philippinarum, invasion, naturalization, non-indigenous species, British estuaries
0025-3154
1163-1172
Humphreys, John
f36578d1-fc09-4fc8-976e-dd79e1762f76
Harris, Matthew R.C.
0ac46c51-2809-470f-812b-07ae3c088b37
Herbert, Roger J.H.
b30b2efb-fec1-4fb9-8b96-57626de041fa
Farrell, Paul
7560d9c4-3542-4243-9584-4a8f51ae18a7
Jensen, Antony
ff1cabd2-e6fa-4e34-9a39-5097e2bc5f85
Cragg, Simon M.
489cbe97-a7ee-44c8-962f-7d92507cb17a
Humphreys, John
f36578d1-fc09-4fc8-976e-dd79e1762f76
Harris, Matthew R.C.
0ac46c51-2809-470f-812b-07ae3c088b37
Herbert, Roger J.H.
b30b2efb-fec1-4fb9-8b96-57626de041fa
Farrell, Paul
7560d9c4-3542-4243-9584-4a8f51ae18a7
Jensen, Antony
ff1cabd2-e6fa-4e34-9a39-5097e2bc5f85
Cragg, Simon M.
489cbe97-a7ee-44c8-962f-7d92507cb17a

Humphreys, John, Harris, Matthew R.C., Herbert, Roger J.H., Farrell, Paul, Jensen, Antony and Cragg, Simon M. (2015) Introduction, dispersal and naturalization of the Manila clam Ruditapes philippinarum in British estuaries, 1980–2010. Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom, 95 (6), 1163-1172. (doi:10.1017/S0025315415000132).

Record type: Article

Abstract

The introduction of the Manila clam into British coastal waters in the 1980s was contested by conservation agencies. While recognizing the value of the clam for aquaculture, the government decided that it posed no invasive risk, as British sea temperatures would prevent naturalization. This proved incorrect. Here we establish the pattern of introduction and spread of the species over the first 30 years of its presence in Britain. We report archival research on the sequence of licensed introductions and examine their relationship in time and space to the appearance of wild populations as revealed in the literature and by field surveys. By 2010 the species had naturalized in at least 11 estuaries in southern England. These included estuaries with no history of licensed introduction. In these cases activities such as storage of catch before market or deliberate unlicensed introduction represent the probable mechanisms of dispersal. In any event naturalization is not an inevitable consequence of introduction and the chances of establishment over the period in question were finely balanced. Consequently in Britain the species is not currently aggressively invasive and appears not to present significant risk to indigenous diversity or ecosystem function. However it is likely to gradually continue its spread should sea surface temperatures rise as predicted.

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More information

Published date: September 2015
Keywords: Manila clam, Ruditapes philippinarum, invasion, naturalization, non-indigenous species, British estuaries
Organisations: Ocean and Earth Science

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 383911
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/383911
ISSN: 0025-3154
PURE UUID: f2384fa6-5bdd-4232-b6b0-d4699aec17a0
ORCID for Antony Jensen: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-8924-1198

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 11 Nov 2015 15:36
Last modified: 30 Mar 2022 01:32

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Contributors

Author: John Humphreys
Author: Matthew R.C. Harris
Author: Roger J.H. Herbert
Author: Paul Farrell
Author: Antony Jensen ORCID iD
Author: Simon M. Cragg

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