Growth and survival of the invasive alga, Caulerpa taxifolia, in different salinities and temperatures: implications for coastal lake management

  • E. J. West
  • R. J. West
Conference paper
Part of the Developments in Hydrobiology book series (DIHY, volume 192)


The alga Caulerpa taxifolia is an invasive pest species in many parts of the world and has recently become established in several estuaries in south eastern Australia. A major infestation has occurred in Lake Conjola, an intermittently open and closed coastal lagoon in southern NSW. Short term (1 week) laboratory experiments were carried out to investigate growth and survival of fragments of C. taxifolia collected from this outbreak, under a range of salinities (15–30 ppt) and water temperatures (15–30°C). Fronds, stolons and thalli of the alga all displayed similar responses. Many of the algal fragments doubled in size over the week and a maximum growth rate of 174 mm/week was recorded. Fragments showed good growth (>20 mm/week) at salinities >20 ppt and temperatures >20°C. Almost total mortality occurred at salinities lower than 20 ppt and temperatures less than 20°C. Historical records of water quality demonstrate that prior to entrance manipulation in 2001, salinities in Lake Conjola had often dropped to below 17 ppt for extended periods (up to 2 years). This suggests that management of the alga may be improved if the lake was allowed to undergo its normal cycles of opening and closing to the ocean, and that entrance manipulation may be one factor that has influenced the success of this invasive species.


Caulerpa taxifolia Salinity Temperature Growth Coastal lagoon Management 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • E. J. West
    • 1
  • R. J. West
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute for Conservation BiologyUniversity of WollongongWollongongAustralia

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