The structure of biogenic habitat and epibiotic assemblages associated with the global invasive kelp Undaria pinnatifida in comparison to native macroalgae

Arnold, M; Teagle, H; Brown, MP; Smale, DA. 2016 The structure of biogenic habitat and epibiotic assemblages associated with the global invasive kelp Undaria pinnatifida in comparison to native macroalgae. Biological Invasions, 18 (3). 661-676. 10.1007/s10530-015-1037-6

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10530-015-1037-6

Abstract/Summary

Kelp forests dominate temperate and polar rocky coastlines and represent critical marine habitats because they support elevated rates of primary and secondary production and high biodiversity. A major threat to the stability of these ecosystems is the proliferation of non-native species, such as the Japanese kelp Undariapinnatifida (‘Wakame’), which has recently colonised natural habitats in the UK. We quantified the abundance and biomass of U. pinnatifida on a natural rocky reef habitat over 10 months to make comparisons with three native canopy-forming brown algae (Laminaria ochroleuca, Saccharina latissima, and Saccorhiza polyschides). We also examined the biogenic habitat structure provided by, and epibiotic assemblages associated with, U. pinnatifida in comparison to native macroalgae. Surveys conducted within the Plymouth Sound Special Area of Conservation indicated that U. pinnatifida is now a dominant and conspicuous member of kelp-dominated communities on natural substrata. Crucially, U. pinnatifida supported a structurally dissimilar and less diverse epibiotic assemblage than the native perennial kelp species. However, U. pinnatifida-associated assemblages were similar to those associated with Saccorhiza polyschides, which has a similar life history and growth strategy. Our results suggest that a shift towards U. pinnatifida dominated reefs could result in impoverished epibiotic assemblages and lower local biodiversity, although this could be offset, to some extent, by the climate-driven proliferation of L. ochroleuca at the poleward range edge, which provides complex biogenic habitat and harbours relatively high biodiversity. Clearly, greater understanding of the long-term dynamics and competitive interactions between these habitat-forming species is needed to accurately predict future biodiversity patterns.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Divisions: Marine Biological Association of the UK > Ecosystems and Environmental Change > Global environmental change and marine ecosystems
Depositing User: Dr Dan Smale
Date made live: 19 Sep 2016 16:18
Last Modified: 06 Jun 2017 16:17
URI: http://plymsea.ac.uk/id/eprint/7176

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