Biological Invasions

, Volume 7, Issue 6, pp 1029–1039 | Cite as

Abundance and Spread of the Invasive Red Algae, Kappaphycus spp., in Kane’ohe Bay, Hawai’i and an Experimental Assessment of Management Options

  • Eric J. Conklin
  • Jennifer E. Smith


Several species of Kappaphycus were intentionally introduced into Kane’ohe Bay, Hawai’i in the 1970s. Subsequent research has demonstrated that these algae have spread rapidly throughout the bay and can be found in a variety of reef habitats overgrowing and killing corals. This study was conducted to (a) quantify Kappaphycus spp. abundance both spatially and temporally, and (b) investigate control options including manual removal and the use of biocontrol agents. Kappaphycus spp. distribution has increased in the bay over the period between surveys conducted in 1999 and 2002, with variation among reefs. The biomass of Kappaphycus spp. removed, and the amount of time required to manually remove them from the reef varied with habitat type, but in all cases amounted to at least 10 kg/m2 requiring almost 2 person-hours to clear 1 m2. Re-growth of the algae following their removal was rapid at most sites, likely due to the experimentally demonstrated ability of the algae to re-grow from minute attachment points and the low palatability of the algae to native herbivorous fishes. The native sea urchin, Tripneustes gratilla, reduced the biomass of Kappaphycus spp. in small experimental enclosures and may be a useful biocontrol agent. Because Kappaphycus spp. are still spreading in Kane’ohe Bay and can overgrow over 50% cover on some reefs, we recommend that rapid management action be taken to prevent further damage and spread to other Hawaiian coral reefs.


algal blooms biocontrol carrageenan coral reefs Eucheuma introduced species invasive macroalgae Kappaphycus nonindigenous species Tripneustes gratilla 


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Copyright information

© Springer 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Hawai’i Institute of Marine BiologyKane’oheUSA
  2. 2.Waikiki AquariumUniversity of Hawai’iHonoluluUSA
  3. 3.Department of ZoologyUniversity of Hawai’iHonoluluUSA
  4. 4.Department of BotanyUniversity of Hawai’iHonoluluUSA

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