Fragment quality and sediment organic loading regulate the survival of an invasive, clonal seaweed

  • Fabio Bulleri
  • Laura Tamburello
  • Antonio Pusceddu
  • Lisa Bonechi
  • Alessandro Cau
  • Davide Moccia
  • Paul E. Gribben
Invasion Note

Abstract

Although propagule pressure is recognized as an important determinant of invasion dynamics, the role of propagule quality (i.e. the physical condition of a propagule) has received little attention. In particular, how the performance of vegetative propagules differing in quality varies across heterogeneous landscapes is yet to be explored. Caulerpa cylindracea is a clonal, invasive seaweed, widely distributed in the Mediterranean. By means of a laboratory experiment, we investigated how variation in the quality of seaweed fragments (intact vs. frond-removal vs. rhizoid-removal) influenced their survival on control versus sediments enriched with detritus from the native seagrass, Posidonia oceanica. The survival of seaweed fragments was low on non-enriched sediments, irrespective of their characteristics. On enriched sediments, survival was high in control and rhizoid-removal fragments, but low in frond-removal fragments. Our study shows that both fragment quality and sediment characteristics influence the survival of C. cylindracea propagules and, hence, long-term spreading dynamics of this seaweed. More generally, it brings novel evidence showing that the effects of propagule quality on invasion success are context-dependent.

Keywords

Clonal plants Propagule quality Sediment organic loading Invasive macroalgae Caulerpa cylindracea 

Notes

Acknowledgements

We thank C. Ravaglioli for help with fieldworkd and two anonymous reviewers for providing comments on an earlier draft of the paper. AP was funded by the Fondazione di Sardegna (2016) and the Regione Autonoma della Sardegna (L7/2007), in the framework of the project Impact of Invasive Alien Species on Sardinian ecosystems. PEG was supported by an Australian Research Council Future Fellowships (FT140100322). LT was supported by the Italian Ministry for Education, University and Research (MIUR), under the call FIRB 2012, through the project HI-BEF (Unveiling hidden relationships between biodiversity and ecosystem functioning in Mediterranean rocky reefs) (protocol RBFR12RXWL), coordinated by C. Bonaviri (University of Palermo).

Supplementary material

10530_2018_1685_MOESM1_ESM.docx (16 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 16 kb)

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Dipartimento di BiologiaUniversità di Pisa, CoNISMaPisaItaly
  2. 2.Dipartimento di Scienze della Vita e dell’AmbienteUniversità degli Studi di CagliariCagliariItaly
  3. 3.Dipartimento di Architettura, Design e UrbanisticaUniversità di SassariSassariItaly
  4. 4.Centre for Marine Bio-Innovation, School of Biological, Earth and Environmental SciencesUniversity of New South WalesSydneyAustralia
  5. 5.Sydney Institute of Marine ScienceMosmanAustralia

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