Biological Invasions

, Volume 15, Issue 9, pp 1961–1971

Anthropogenic disturbance of coastal habitats promotes the spread of the introduced scleractinian coral Oculina patagonica in the Mediterranean Sea

  • Maria Salomidi
  • Stelios Katsanevakis
  • Yiannis Issaris
  • Konstantinos Tsiamis
  • Nikos Katsiaras
Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s10530-013-0424-0

Cite this article as:
Salomidi, M., Katsanevakis, S., Issaris, Y. et al. Biol Invasions (2013) 15: 1961. doi:10.1007/s10530-013-0424-0

Abstract

The extensive human-mediated modifications of shallow coastal habitats drastically alter selection regimes and may assist alien invasions. The preferential presence of a non-indigenous scleractinian coral (Oculina patagonica) on anthropogenic hard substrata 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. The species was present all along the shallow (0.5–5 m) infralittoral zone of the studied coastline, and its percent cover even exceeded 50 % at a site of anthropogenic hard substratum. The occupancy of the species declined with distance from a highly disturbed industrialized/urbanized area (Athens metropolitan coastal front and the port of Piraeus). Space availability as a result of habitat modification appears to have been an important factor enhancing the coral’s abundance in this area. The ongoing degradation of the coastal zone, as a combined effect of coastal pollution, proliferation of artificial substrata and overgrazing seems to be paving the way to this new invasion in the Aegean Sea.

Keywords

Artificial substratumSelection regime modificationOccupancyUnderwater visual surveyMarine alien speciesHabitat preferenceGreece

Supplementary material

10530_2013_424_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (328 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (PDF 327 kb)
10530_2013_424_MOESM2_ESM.xlsx (12 kb)
Supplementary material 2 (XLSX 12 kb)

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Maria Salomidi
    • 1
  • Stelios Katsanevakis
    • 2
  • Yiannis Issaris
    • 3
  • Konstantinos Tsiamis
    • 1
  • Nikos Katsiaras
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of OceanographyHellenic Centre for Marine ResearchAnavyssosGreece
  2. 2.European Commission, Joint Research CentreInstitute for Environment and SustainabilityIspraItaly
  3. 3.Institute of Marine Biological Resources and Inland WatersHellenic Centre for Marine ResearchAnavyssosGreece