Biological Invasions

, Volume 10, Issue 8, pp 1311–1316 | Cite as

Process of invasiveness among exotic tunicates in Prince Edward Island, Canada

  • Aaron Ramsay
  • Jeff Davidson
  • Thomas Landry
  • Garth Arsenault
Original Paper


Over the past decade, four exotic tunicates (Styela clava, Ciona intestinalis, Botrylloides violaceus and Botryllus schlosseri) have been reported in the Brudenell estuary in Prince Edward Island (PEI), Canada. Styela clava was the first exotic tunicate to arrive in 1997, rapidly establishing, spreading, invading, and eventually becoming a nuisance in several estuaries of PEI. In the Brudenell estuary, S. clava remained the only exotic nuisance tunicate until 2003. In the fall of 2004, the vase tunicate C. intestinalis, was reported in low abundance, followed by the two colonial species, B. schlosseri and B. violaceus, reported in the spring of 2005. The abundance of C. intestinalis rapidly increased post-introduction, eventually replacing S. clava as the foremost nuisance species on mussel farms in the estuary. To date, C. intestinalis continues to colonize this estuary at epidemic proportions, resulting in the continuing drop of S. clava abundance. The current abundance of C. intestinalis is estimated at 5 cm−2, which is similar to S. clava abundance at its height in 2003. The 2006 abundance of S. clava is estimated to have fallen to near 0 cm−2. The dominance of C. intestinalis as a fouling organism on mussel farms is considered a serious threat to this aquaculture industry, mainly due to its unmanageable weight. The process of the detection, establishment, invasiveness, and eventual rise to nuisance level of exotic tunicates in the Brudenell River is presented.


Aquatic invasive species Botrylloides violaceus Botryllus schlosseri Ciona intestinalis Exotic species Nuisance species Styela clava 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Aaron Ramsay
    • 1
  • Jeff Davidson
    • 1
  • Thomas Landry
    • 2
  • Garth Arsenault
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Health Management, Atlantic Veterinary CollegeUniversity of Prince Edward IslandCharlottetownCanada
  2. 2.Department of Fisheries and OceansGulf Fisheries CentreMonctonCanada

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