Greening of the coasts: a review of the Perna viridis success story
The green mussel Perna viridis has been receiving a lot of attention from workers working in the research areas of intertidal ecology, aquaculture, pollution monitoring, biofouling, zoogeography and invasion biology. P. viridis is a remarkable species in terms of its ability to reach very high biomass levels, to withstand environmental fluctuations, to concentrate a variety of organic and inorganic environmental pollutants, to colonise artificial marine habitats and to invade new geographic territories. This review collates data available on salient aspects of the distribution, biology and ecology of P. viridis. It is argued that the remarkable success of P. viridis as an invasive species basically stems from its long larval duration, fast growth rate, high fecundity, early maturity, high productivity and ability to withstand fluctuating environmental conditions (temperature, salinity, water turbidity and pollutants). Relevant aspects of the data are compared with the data available for a similar species Perna perna, which too is an invasive species, but to a more limited extent.