Structure and complexity of the substrate are important habitat characteristics for benthic epifauna. The specific growth and mortality rates and inducible defence characters on medium- sized blue mussels (Mytilus edulis L.) exposed to shore crabs (Carcinus maenas L.) were examined on three different substrate types in combined field and laboratory experiments. The experiments showed that complexity of the substrate increased blue mussel survival significantly, through a decrease in predation pressure. However, increased intraspecific competition for food on the complex substrate resulted in significantly lower growth rates of the mussels. Inducible defence characters were also influenced by substrate type. Blue mussels were more affected by predators on the structurally simple substrate, where they developed thicker shells and a larger posterior adductor muscle.
|Publication status||Published - 2002|