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Relationship between the invasive slipper limpet Crepidula fornicata and benthic megafauna structure and diversity, in Arcachon Bay

  • Xavier de Montaudouin (a1), Hugues Blanchet (a1) and Bettina Hippert (a1)

The slipper limpet Crepidula fornicata ranks among the main invasive species on French coasts and is known to cause ecological impacts on food web structure and nutrient cycling. This study investigated the effect of C. fornicata on different components of benthic megafauna diversity (species composition, α-, β- and γ-diversity). In Arcachon Bay (France), C. fornicata was present in 58% of the 221 sampling stations. Crepidula fornicata was particularly abundant in four of the main benthic megafauna assemblages, suggesting a non-random distribution of its population. The mean number of megafauna species per station (α-diversity) was 11 with C. fornicata vs six without. Conversely, community similarity among stations (β-diversity) was higher when C. fornicata biomass increased. Opposing α- and β-diversity trends in the presence of C. fornicata explained the similarity of the global number of species (γ-diversity) between both situations (with and without C. fornicata). These results highlighted how this exotic engineer species acted on different types of diversity: the presence of C. fornicata increased the number of species per sample (α-diversity) but homogenized the benthic community (decreasing β-diversity) in comparison with stations where C. fornicata was absent. Crepidula fornicata stock in Arcachon Bay was also monitored and compared with 1999. The spread of C. fornicata between 1999 and 2011 has been limited with a 318 t stock which was not statistically different than the previous estimate performed in 1999. However, the mean length of C. fornicata collected in 2011 was significantly smaller, mainly due to a higher proportion of small individuals.

Corresponding author
Correspondence should be addressed to: X. de Montaudouin, University Bordeaux, UMR EPOC 5805, CNRS, 2 rue du Pr Jolyet – F-33120 Arcachon, France email:
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