, Volume 797, Issue 1, pp 183–198 | Cite as

The role of nutrient enrichment in the invasion process in intertidal rock pools

  • Raquel Vieira
  • Isabel Sousa Pinto
  • Francisco Arenas
Primary Research Paper


Anthropogenic-mediated disturbances can induce major effects on the structure and functioning of natural systems. Understanding how stressors jointly interact to impact ecosystems has become a central interest to ecological researchers. In this study, we investigated the potential synergies between two recognised threats to the marine environment: eutrophication and biological invasions. Coastal eutrophication is usually regarded as a local stressor resulting from inland agricultural and industrial runoffs. Biological invasions are considered a global threat to coastal ecosystems, mainly derived from the increase of the spatial scale of human activities. We carried out an experimental study to investigate how nutrient supply affected the invasion success of two introduced seaweeds widely recognised as highly invasive species, Sargassum muticum and Grateloupia turuturu. In our study, we seeded experimental macroalgae assemblages with propagules from these two invaders, which were afterwards placed in rock pools under two different nutrient conditions. Results suggested that besides species-specific differences, nutrients promoted the establishment of these two introduced seaweeds. Also, the results from our structural and functional studies showed that functional impacts by invaders may occur even before structural effects are detected in the invaded communities. Even in the absence of large structural impacts associated with the invasion of S. muticum, functional effects were obvious for this species. The assemblages initially seeded with S. muticum presented higher rates of productivity and higher photosynthetic efficiency compared to the other treatments.


Sargassum muticum Grateloupia turuturu Eutrophication Invasive seaweeds Invasion impact Rocky shores 



RV was supported by funds from the Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia (FCT) SFRH/BD/74266/2010. FA and ISP were funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) through the ‘Programa Operacional Factores de Competitividade’ (POFC-COMPETE) within the ‘Quadro de Referência Estratégico Nacional (QREN) and PEst-C/MAR/LA0015/2011 (by ERDF through the COMPETE Program and national FCT funds). Additional funding was obtained from FCT project CLEF (PTDC/AAC-AMB/102866/2008) and the Framework of the Structured Program of R&D&I INNOVMAR - Innovation and Sustainability in the Management and Exploitation of Marine Resources (Reference NORTE-01-0145-FEDER-000035), namely within the Research Line ECOSERVICES, supported by the Northern Regional Operational Programme (NORTE2020), through the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Raquel Vieira
    • 1
    • 2
  • Isabel Sousa Pinto
    • 1
    • 2
  • Francisco Arenas
    • 3
  1. 1.Coastal Biodiversity Group CIIMAR - Centro Interdisciplinar de Investigação Marinha e Ambiental, University of PortoMatosinhosPortugal
  2. 2.Department of Biology, Faculty of SciencesUniversity of PortoPortoPortugal
  3. 3.Aquatic Ecology & Evolution GroupCIIMAR - Centro Interdisciplinar de Investigação Marinha e Ambiental, University of PortoMatosinhosPortugal

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