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Effects of Sea Star Wasting Disease on Mussel Recruitment
  • Emily Chui,
  • Fiorenza Micheli,
  • Alison Haupt
Emily Chui
College of Science, CSU Monterey Bay

Corresponding Author:[email protected]

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Fiorenza Micheli
Hopkins Marine Station, Stanford University
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Alison Haupt
College of Science, CSU Monterey Bay
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Patterns of recruitment are important when determining community dynamics and adult abundance within an ecosystem. Mussels (Mytilus spp.) are an ecologically important foundation species that provide complex habitat for a diverse suite of marine species and are used as biological indicators for environmental pollution. To use mussels as biological indicators, we must understand the timing of mussel dispersal and recruitment. In coastal intertidal zones, mussel populations are kept in check through predation by sea stars, a keystone species, which opens up primary substrate for other sessile invertebrates and algae. Understanding mussel population dynamics is important to make predictions about how intertidal ecosystems will respond to loss of keystone predators through sea star wasting disease. To see if mussel recruitment was impacted by sea star wasting disease, we used tuffy collectors to monitor mussel recruitment in the intertidal at Hopkins Marine Station Marine Life Refuge. After tuffy collectors are filtered and sorted under a dissecting microscope, we will look for changes in mussel recruitment during and after the sea star wasting disease event. We expect higher numbers of mussel recruitment during the peak of the sea star wasting disease from 2013 to 2014.