PREFERENCE OF AN INVASIVE MUDSNAIL TO AREAS OF ANTHROPOGENIC DISTURBANCE IN A CENTRAL CALIFORNIA ESTUARY
- Introduced species can have broad impacts on ecosystems, from changing biological interactions to shifting the structural character of an ecosystem.
- To further understand habitats that non-indigenous species may thrive I investigated the habitat preference of one successful marine invader, Batillaria attramentaria, within Elkhorn Slough, a central California estuary.
- I used a split-plot analysis of variance (ANOVA) study design to determine the significance of difference in density patterns in relation to anthropogenic disturbance and the physical environment.
- I concluded that Batillaria prefers the combination of diked areas, hard substrate, and low shore levels.
- This conclusion supports the selection regime modification theory, which states that anthropogenic disturbance influences selection regimes and shifts the competitive advantage toward introduced species.
- By furthering our knowledge of the selection regime modification hypothesis I aim to add to previous research in the general understanding of what may control biological invasions and exotic species distribution in both terrestrial and marine environments.
- During this project I worked with Dr. Corey Garza, Associate Professor and Principal Investigator for the Marine Landscape Ecology Lab at CSUMB. I would like to thank fellow CSUMB M.S. students Kyle Olejniczak and Patrick Mulcahy for helping with field sampling within the Elkhorn Slough.