Clusters of ribbed mussels help marsh grasses retain moisture so they can withstand drought, and the marsh can bounce back afterward. Areas of marsh grass that survive drought thanks to the mussels serve as nuclei for regrowth throughout the marsh.
That is until the feral hogs trample in and devour the mussels.
“So hogs specifically target mussel-rich areas,” Hensel said. “When they do that, mussels are basically totally eradicated from the area.”
Hensel’s new research shows that marshes invaded by hogs are up to three times slower to recover from drought. And they’re far more vulnerable to sea level rise.
“Marshes can sort of handle one thing at a time,” Hensel said. “But when things stack up, like a drought comes through, and then when it’s time to recover from that drought, well, the hogs are here to specifically kneecap us right in the spot where we used to normally recover, that’s when we start to see potentially really big problems.” Click source to read more….
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