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The effects of an invasive seaweed on native communities vary along a gradient of land-based human impacts

Bulleri, Fabio, Badalamenti, Fabio, Iveša, Ljiljana, Mikac, Barbara, Musco, Luigi, Jaklin, Andrej, Rattray, Alex, Vega Fernández, Tomas and Benedetti-Cecchi, Lisandro 2016, The effects of an invasive seaweed on native communities vary along a gradient of land-based human impacts, PeerJ, vol. 4, Article number : e1795, pp. 1-17, doi: 10.7717/peerj.1795.

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Title The effects of an invasive seaweed on native communities vary along a gradient of land-based human impacts
Author(s) Bulleri, Fabio
Badalamenti, Fabio
Iveša, Ljiljana
Mikac, Barbara
Musco, Luigi
Jaklin, Andrej
Rattray, Alex
Vega Fernández, Tomas
Benedetti-Cecchi, Lisandro
Journal name PeerJ
Volume number 4
Season Article number : e1795
Start page 1
End page 17
Total pages 17
Publisher PeerJ
Place of publication London, Eng.
Publication date 2016
ISSN 2167-8359
Keyword(s) biological invasions
seaweeds
temperate rocky reefs
cumulative human impacts
bethnic community
Caulerpa cylindracea
Mediterranean Sea
habitat degradation
marine biodiversity
non-native species
Summary The difficulty in teasing apart the effects of biological invasions from those of otheranthropogenic perturbations has hampered our understanding of the mechanismsunderpinning the global biodiversity crisis. The recent elaboration of global-scalemaps of cumulative human impacts provides a unique opportunity to assess howthe impact of invaders varies among areas exposed to different anthropogenicactivities. A recent meta-analysis has shown that the effects of invasive seaweeds onnative biota tend to be more negative in relatively pristine than in human-impactedenvironments. Here, we tested this hypothesis through the experimental removalof the invasive green seaweed, Caulerpa cylindracea, from rocky reefs across theMediterranean Sea. More specifically, we assessed which out of land-based andsea-based cumulative impact scores was a better predictor of the direction andmagnitude of the effects of this seaweed on extant and recovering native assemblages.Approximately 15 months after the start of the experiment, the removal ofC. cylindracea from extant assemblages enhanced the cover of canopy-formingmacroalgae at relatively pristine sites. This did not, however, result in major changesin total cover or species richness of native assemblages. Preventing C. cylindraceare-invasion of cleared plots at pristine sites promoted the recovery of canopyformingand encrusting macroalgae and hampered that of algal turfs, ultimatelyresulting in increased species richness. These effects weakened progressively withincreasing levels of land-based human impacts and, indeed, shifted in sign at theupper end of the gradient investigated. Thus, at sites exposed to intense disturbancefrom land-based human activities, the removal of C. cylindracea fostered the coverof algal turfs and decreased that of encrusting algae, with no net effect on speciesrichness. Our results suggests that competition from C. cylindracea is an importantdeterminant of benthic assemblage diversity in pristine environments, but less so inspecies-poor assemblages found at sites exposed to intense disturbance from landbasedhuman activities, where either adverse physical factors or lack of propagulesmay constrain the number of potential native colonizers. Implementing measures toreduce the establishment and spread of C. cylindracea in areas little impacted byland-based human activities should be considered a priority for preserving thebiodiversity of Mediterranean shallow rocky reefs.
Language eng
DOI 10.7717/peerj.1795
Field of Research 060701 Phycology (incl Marine Grasses)
050103 Invasive Species Ecology
050204 Environmental Impact Assessment
Socio Economic Objective 970105 Expanding Knowledge in the Environmental Sciences
HERDC Research category C1.1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
ERA Research output type C Journal article
Copyright notice ©2016, The Authors
Free to Read? Yes
Use Rights Creative Commons Attribution licence
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30084965

Document type: Journal Article
Collections: School of Life and Environmental Sciences
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Every reasonable effort has been made to ensure that permission has been obtained for items included in DRO. If you believe that your rights have been infringed by this repository, please contact drosupport@deakin.edu.au.