Keeping up with introduced marine species at a remote biodiversity hotspot: awareness, training and collaboration across different sectors is key

  • Mareike Huhn
  • Hawis H. Madduppa
  • Miftahul Khair
  • Amri Sabrian
  • Yulina Irawati
  • Nurlita Putri Anggraini
  • Shaun P. Wilkinson
  • Tiffany Simpson
  • Kazuma Iwasaki
  • Davin H. E. Setiamarga
  • P. Joana DiasEmail author
Original Paper


Despite being a well-recognized issue, the introduction of non-native marine species is an underestimated topic in highly biodiverse developing countries. The Indonesian archipelago sits at the center of the Coral Triangle, extending over several biogeographic regions with unique benthic communities, where the extent of non-native species presence is largely unknown. It is also at the center of maritime traffic between Australasia and Asia, and therefore at risk of introduction of species that are carried on the hulls and ballast water of vessels. In the present study, we aimed to raise awareness on marine biological invasions across the Indonesian archipelago by fostering discussions among scientists, educating science students, generating media articles for the public and actively involving island communities. We also aimed to test the suitability of a range of methods commonly used in bioinvasion research (settlement arrays, DNA barcoding and environmental DNA metabarcoding, vessel surveys) to establish a baseline for biofouling species and potential threats, while developing much needed capacity for monitoring and application to other areas. We recorded 66 different non-coral specimens in the fouling communities of a remote group of islands of the Indonesian archipelago, represented mainly by the taxa Porifera, Tunicata and Mollusca, which are known to include notorious invasive species. None of the identified species was known to be invasive in the region but several were cryptogenic and/or were considered to have a very broad global distribution range that can potentially include part, or all, of the Indonesian archipelago. One species, the ascidian Didemnum molle, was found to quickly settle and spread on available blank substrates. While settlement plates (monitored every 5 months) proved suitable for early detection of potential incursions of these organisms, benthic surveys, DNA barcoding and eDNA metabarcoding provide valuable complementary baseline biodiversity information. A combination of sampling methods is therefore recommended for similar studies in understudied high biodiversity areas. Results from vessel surveys highlights the importance of civil society education in helping prevent bioinvasions. This study represents the first marine biological invasions baseline, awareness and capacity development training carried in the Indonesian archipelago. The lessons taken from the variety of methods explored in a simultaneously scientific and educational setting should prove useful and motivate similar work in other areas of the world.


Marine education Early warning Invasive Southeast Asia Indonesia 



We would like to acknowledge the assistance of Mr. Tuta at Bluemotion Dive Center Banda in building the settlement arrays and Mr. Taufik Lama from Banda Naira for supervising the arrays in the Banda Islands and for spreading and collecting the vessel questionnaire together with Azwar Razak whom we also thank. Thank you to Miss Pipit Pitriana and Mr Masrur Islami from LIPI in Ambon for assistance with the identification of barnacles and molluscs and to the Banda Islands conservation office BKKPN. Thank you to Beginer Subhan for helping organize the initial workshop at the IPB Laboratory of Marine Biodiversity and Biosystematics, producing the project dissemination video and acting as referee during Mr Amri Sabrian and Mr Miftahul Khair BSc in Marine Science thesis examination. Thank you also to Dr. Neviaty P Zamani and Dr. Endang S. Mariana for also acting as referee during the students’ thesis examination. Further, we would like to thank Seema Fotedar, Sherralee Lukehurst and Andrea Bertram at the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development Fisheries Division, Government of Western Australia, for assistance in the training of Miss Mutiara Kristina Margaretha and Miss Nurlita P. Anggraeni from Institut Pertanian Bogor (IPB University), within the scope of this project. Finally, thank you to Dr. Mike Bunce and Dr. Nicole White for most valuable eDNA metabarcoding support. Thank you to the Indonesian ministry Ristek Dikti for providing a foreign research permit (425/SIP/FRP/E5/Dit.KI/X/2015). This work was funded by a grant awarded to Hawis H. Madduppa and P. Joana Dias in 2015/16 by the Australian National University (ANU) Indonesia project (

Supplementary material

10530_2019_2126_MOESM1_ESM.xlsx (33 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (XLSX 33 kb)
10530_2019_2126_MOESM2_ESM.png (3.5 mb)
Figure S1. Settlement array structures that were deployed around Banda Naira. The rope was attached to rocks or dead coral heads on the bottom with enough slack given so that the float could keep the panels at a constant depth. (PNG 3539 kb)
10530_2019_2126_MOESM3_ESM.jpg (2 mb)
Figure S2. Colonization of Didemnum molle on ropes that were used to attach settlement structures in the natural harbour of Banda Naira. (JPEG 2055 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mareike Huhn
    • 1
    • 2
  • Hawis H. Madduppa
    • 1
  • Miftahul Khair
    • 1
  • Amri Sabrian
    • 1
  • Yulina Irawati
    • 1
  • Nurlita Putri Anggraini
    • 1
  • Shaun P. Wilkinson
    • 3
  • Tiffany Simpson
    • 4
  • Kazuma Iwasaki
    • 5
  • Davin H. E. Setiamarga
    • 5
  • P. Joana Dias
    • 6
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Marine Science and Technology, Faculty of Fisheries and Marine ScienceInstitut Pertanian Bogor (IPB University)BogorIndonesia
  2. 2.Department of General Zoology and NeurobiologyRuhr-University BochumBochumGermany
  3. 3.School of Biological SciencesVictoria University of WellingtonWellingtonNew Zealand
  4. 4.Trace and Environmental DNA (TrEnD) Laboratory, Department of Environment and AgricultureCurtin UniversityPerthAustralia
  5. 5.Department of Applied Chemistry and Biochemistry, National Institute of TechnologyWakayama CollegeGoboJapan
  6. 6.NRC Research AssociateNOAA Northwest Fisheries Science CenterSeattleUSA

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