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Bivalve Takeover: Once-benign clams boom after crab influx

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11:21am, January 19, 2005

In a rare analysis of one marine invader benefiting an earlier arrival, an ecologist says that European green crabs invading a California bay have triggered a population explosion of a previously marginal clam.

The European green crab gobbled up two species of native shellfish, says Edwin D. Grosholz of the University of California, Davis. After considering decades of monitoring data and the results of his recent experiments, Grosholz blames this feast for removing competition that had kept the eastern gem clam in check. This clam had lived in the harbor for 50 years or so, but it's only now replacing the native species.

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