The structure of biogenic habitat and epibiotic assemblages associated with the global invasive kelp Undaria pinnatifida in comparison to native macroalgae
- 442 Downloads
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 Undaria pinnatifida (‘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.
KeywordsNon-native species Epifauna Biodiversity Benthic ecology Temperate reefs Macroalgae
The authors would like to thank the University of Plymouth Marine Station for diving support. DS is supported by an Independent Research Fellowship awarded by the Natural Environment Research Council of the UK (NE/K008439/1). We thank Anna Yunnie for taxonomic assistance.
- Anderson MJ (2001) A new method for non-parametric multivariate analysis of variance. Austral Ecol 26:32–46Google Scholar
- Anderson MJ, Gorley RN, Clarke KR (2008) Permanova + for primer: guide to software and statistical methods. PRIMER-E, PlymouthGoogle Scholar
- Birchenough S, Bremmer J (2010) Shallow and shelf subtidal habitats and ecology. MCCIP Annual Report Card 2010-11, MCCIP Science ReviewGoogle Scholar
- Castric-Fey A, Beaupoil C, Bouchain J, Pradier E, L’Hardy-Halos M (1999) The introduced alga Undaria pinnatifida (Laminariales, Alariaceae) in the rocky shore ecosystem of the St Malo Area: growth rate and longevity of the sporophyte. Bot Mar 42:83–96Google Scholar
- Clarke KR, Warwick RM (2001) Change in marine communities: an approach to statistical analysis and interpretation, 2nd edn. PRIMER-E Ltd., PlymouthGoogle Scholar
- Connor DW, Allen JH, Golding N, Howell KL, Lieberknecht LM, Northen KO, Reker JB (2004) The marine habitat classification for Britain and Ireland version 04.05. JNCC, Peterborough, UKGoogle Scholar
- Fitzpatrick F (1990) Remotely sensed sedimentology of Plymouth Sound. Proc Ussher Soc 7:289–294Google Scholar
- Irigoyen A, Trobbiani G, Sgarlatta M, Raffo M (2011) Effects of the alien algae Undaria pinnatifida (Phaeophyceae, Laminariales) on the diversity and abundance of benthic macrofauna in Golfo Nuevo (Patagonia, Argentina): potential implications for local food webs. Biol Invasions 13:1521–1532CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Vergés A, Steinberg PD, Hay ME, Poore AGB, Campbell AH, Ballesteros E, Heck KL, Booth DJ, Coleman MA, Feary DA, Figueira W, Langlois T, Marzinelli EM, Mizerek T, Mumby PJ, Nakamura Y, Roughan M, van Sebille E, Gupta AS, Smale DA, Tomas F, Wernberg T, Wilson SK (2014) The tropicalization of temperate marine ecosystems: climate-mediated changes in herbivory and community phase shifts. Proc Roy Soc B Biol Sci 281:20140846CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Williams FE, Eschen R, Harris A, Djeddour DH, Pratt CF, Shaw RS, Varia S, Lamontagne-Godwin JD, Thomas SE, Murphy ST (2010) The economic cost of invasive non-native species on Great Britain. CABI Project No. VM10066 Final Report, Wallingford, UKGoogle Scholar
- Wood C, Bishop J, Yunnie ALE (2015) Comprehensive reassessment of NNS in Welsh marinas. Welsh Government Resilient Ecosystems Fund (REF), Grant GU9430Google Scholar