Trophic ecology of the Atlantic blue crab Callinectes sapidus as an invasive non-native species in the Aegean Sea

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Aslan H., Polito M. J.

Biological Invasions, vol.23, no.5, pp.1-16, 2021 (SCI-Expanded)

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 23 Issue: 5
  • Publication Date: 2021
  • Journal Name: Biological Invasions
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus, PASCAL, Aquatic Science & Fisheries Abstracts (ASFA), BIOSIS, CAB Abstracts, Environment Index, Geobase, Veterinary Science Database
  • Page Numbers: pp.1-16
  • Çanakkale Onsekiz Mart University Affiliated: Yes


Invasive non-native crustaceans are a

biodiversity and management concern in the Mediterranean

Sea. The Atlantic blue crab (Callinectes

sapidus) was first recorded in the Mediterranean Sea

in 1949, but may have arrived as early as in the 1930’s.

Blue crabs in the Mediterranean Sea are of concern

due to their presumed potential for negative consumptive

and competitive interactions with native fauna.

The aim of this study was to provide a first

assessment of the trophic ecology of non-native blue

crab in the Northern Aegean Sea using stable carbon

(d13C) and nitrogen isotope (d15N) analysis. We found

limited isotopic niche overlap between blue crabs and

seven native species examined at Go¨kc¸eada Island in

April, June, and August of 2017. In addition, the range

of calculated trophic positions of blue crabs at

Go¨kc¸eada Island (2.0 to 4.4), while broad, is in

general agreement with prior studies in both native and

non-native ranges. We also observe that trophic

position declined and the relative importance of

pelagic carbon sources to blue crabs increased from

April to August. However, we also found that differing

assumptions as to the number and type of food web

baselines and trophic discrimination factors led to

differing estimates of trophic position in blue crabs at

Go¨kc¸eada Island by as much as one to two trophic

levels. These methodical differences make it challenging

to directly compare results within and between

studies, and thus limit our ability to assess negative

consumptive and competitive interactions of invasive

blue crab with native coastal species in the Mediterranean