Title: Anthropogenic disturbance of coastal habitats promotes the spread of the introduced scleractinian coral Oculina patagonica in the Mediterranean Sea
Citation: BIOLOGICAL INVASIONS vol. 15 p. 1961-1971
Publisher: SPRINGER
Publication Year: 2013
JRC N°: JRC71136
ISSN: 1387-3547
URI: http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs10530-013-0424-0
DOI: 10.1007/s10530-013-0424-0
Type: Articles in periodicals and books
Abstract: The extensive human-mediated modifications of shallow coastal habitats drastically alter selection regimes and may assist alien invasions. The preferential colonization of anthropogenic hard substrata by a non-indigenous scleractinian coral (Oculina patagonica) was investigated in a highly disturbed coastal area, along the eastern Saronikos Gulf (Aegean Sea, Eastern Mediterranean). Although the species occurred on both natural and anthropogenic substrata at similar frequencies, its abundance was substantially higher on the latter, indicating novel space availability as a factor enhancing the coral’s invasiveness. The species was present along the shallow (0.5 – 5 m) infralittoral zone of the studied coastline and its percent cover exceeded 50% in some sites of anthropogenic hard substrata. The occupancy of the species declined with distance from a highly disturbed industrialized/urbanized area (port of Piraeus). After its first finding close to the port of Piraeus (presumably by shipping) in 2005, O. patagonica has been spreading rapidly along the adjacent coastlines and is contributing to a further modification of shallow hard substratum habitats.
JRC Directorate:Sustainable Resources

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