Biological Invasions

, Volume 7, Issue 4, pp 589–606

Starting the invasion pathway: the interaction between source populations and human transport vectors


DOI: 10.1007/s10530-004-0952-8

Cite this article as:
Floerl, O. & Inglis, G.J. Biol Invasions (2005) 7: 589. doi:10.1007/s10530-004-0952-8


Human transport hubs, such as shipping ports, airports and mail centers are important foci for the spread of non-indigenous species. High relative abundance in a transport hub has been proposed as a correlate of invasion success, since abundant species are thought more likely to colonize vectors and to be transported more frequently. We here evaluate the relative importance of vector characteristics and local source assemblages in determining the pool of species that is transported by hull fouling on recreational boats. We compared the resident fouling communities of three recreational boat harbors in Australia with the assemblages on the hulls of boats that travel between them. We used data on the recent travel and maintenance history of the boats to evaluate correlates of transport probability and the potential for intra-coastal spread of fouling organisms. Invertebrate assemblages on heavily fouled vessels reflected the composition of biotic assemblages within the marina in which they were moored, but by itself, relative abundance in the source port was not a reliable predictor of transport probability. More important was the age of the antifouling paint on the vessels’ hulls, which acted selectively on some groups of organisms. Movements of vessels were characterized by “fidelity” (vessels remaining close to homeport) interspersed with “promiscuity” (vessels traveling to a diverse pool of destinations). In an infested harbor, measures taken to increase the resistance of vectors to colonization by the invader should be effective in slowing the rate of spread to other locations, by decreasing the overall frequency of transport.


biological invasions fouling assemblages hull fouling introduced species marinas recreational vessels sessile invertebrates transport hubs vectors yachts 


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Copyright information

© Springer 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Tropical Environment Studies and GeographyJames Cook UniversityTownsvilleAustralia
  2. 2.National Centre for Aquatic Biodiversity and BiosecurityNational Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research LtdChristchurchNew Zealand

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