, Volume 144, Issue 1, pp 183-202
Date: 15 Aug 2003

Introduced and cryptogenic species in Port Phillip Bay, Victoria, Australia

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Abstract

Port Phillip Bay (PPB) is a large (1,930 km2), temperate embayment in southern Victoria, Australia. Extensive bay-wide surveys of PPB have occurred since 1840. In 1995/1996 the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) Centre for Research on Introduced Marine Pests (CRIMP) undertook an intensive evaluation of the region with the aims of developing a comprehensive species list of native and introduced biota and contrasting previous bay-wide assessments with a current field survey in order to detect new incursions and discern alterations to native communities. Two methods were used to meet these aims: a re-evaluation of regional museum collections and published research in PPB to identify and determine the timing of introductions; and field surveys for benthic (infauna, epifauna and encrusting) organisms between September 1995 to March 1996. One hundred and sixty introduced (99) and cryptogenic (61) species were identified representing over 13% of the recorded species of PPB. As expected, the majority of these are concentrated around the shipping ports of Geelong and Melbourne. Invasions within PPB appear to be increasing, possibly due to an increase in modern shipping traffic and an increase in aquaculture (historically associated with incidental introductions); however the records of extensive biological surveys suggest that this may, in part, be an artefact of sampling effort. In contrast to Northern Hemisphere studies, PPB (and Southern Hemisphere introductions in general) have significantly different suites of successfully invading taxa. PPB is presented as one of the most invaded marine ecosystems in the Southern Hemisphere.

Communicated by M.S. Johnson, Crawley