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The joint influence of environmental and anthropogenic factors on the invasion of two alien caulerpae in northwestern Mediterranean

Abstract

Many factors are known to influence the invasion of alien species depending on the spatial scales considered. Caulerpa taxifolia and Caulerpa cylindracea are two green macroalgae that are classified as among the most invasive exotic macroalgae in the world. Their spread into the Mediterranean Sea seems to be favored by the concomitant decline of Posidonia oceanica. We studied the effect of four anthropogenic pressures and four environmental factors, and the conservation statuts of P. oceanica seagrass, on the presence/absence and abundance of these caulerpae along 336 km of French Mediterranean coastline (159,691 ha of seabed) using generalized linear model (GLM). Our results showed that the presence of caulerpae increased as the conservation status of the P. oceanica seagrass decreased and as boat anchoring intensity is high. Also, the increase in turbidity values significantly reduced the presence of caulerpae independently of variations in other environmental factors. Urban effluents were the human factor that interacted the most by disturbing all environmental variables. These results contribute to understanding the large-scale factors which have promoted caulerpae invasion and highlight the necessity to improve marine habitat's conservation for prevent biological invasions.

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Acknowledgements

Fabrice Houngnandan was funded by Agence de l’Eau Rhône-Méditerranée-Corse and Région Occitanie. This work was carried out as part of a project of the joint laboratory InToSea (ANR founding labcom 2) uniting Andromède océanologie and the University of Montpellier (UMR MARBEC). We are grateful to Pierre Boissery for his relevant comments on the manuscript. Data used to build the 1:10000 habitat map were collected by Andromède Océanologie, Agence de l'Eau RMC, Conservatoire du Littoral, DREAL PACA; Egis Eau, ERAMM, GIS Posidonie, IFREMER, Institut océanographique Paul Ricard, Nice Côte d'Azur, TPM, Programme CARTHAM—Agence des Aires Marines Protégées, ASCONIT Consultants, COMEX-SA, EVEMAR, IN VIVO, Sentinelle, Stareso, Programme MEDBENTH, Université de Corse (EQEL), Ville de St Cyr-sur-mer, Ville de Cannes, Ville de Marseille, Ville de St Raphaël and Ville de St Tropez.

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Houngnandan, F., Kefi, S., Bockel, T. et al. The joint influence of environmental and anthropogenic factors on the invasion of two alien caulerpae in northwestern Mediterranean. Biol Invasions (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10530-021-02654-w

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Keywords

  • Killer algae
  • Landscape indices
  • Decline index
  • Degradation status
  • Submerged aquatic vegetation
  • Causes of invasion
  • Warming