eCite Digital Repository

Structural complexity facilitates accumulation and retention of fragments of the invasive alga Caulerpa taxifolia


Davis, A and Ferguson, AM and Wright, JT, Structural complexity facilitates accumulation and retention of fragments of the invasive alga Caulerpa taxifolia, Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology, 371, (2) pp. 163-169. ISSN 0022-0981 (2009) [Refereed Article]

DOI: doi:10.1016/j.jembe.2009.01.017


Free-drifting fragments represent an abundant potential source of recruits to the invasive alga, Caulerpa taxifolia. Here we examine how this fragment pool interacts with real and artificial habitat structure in estuarine environments. Specifically, we tested two hypotheses; (i) the fragment pool was unrelated to the structural complexity of Caulerpa beds and, (ii) fragment accumulation and retention was unrelated to canopy height of seagrass meadows. We examined fragment accumulation and retention using artificial seagrass units (ASUs) mimicking seagrasses with long (20 cm) leaves (Posidonia/Zostera) and short (5 cm) leaves (Halophila spp.). Both hypotheses were rejected. Fragment biomass was a positive function of the blade height and cover of Caulerpa taxifolia. ASUs with structure had greater fragment accumulation than controls, but we did not detect differences between ASUs of different canopy heights. However, fragment accumulation within ASUs was strongly affected by site, with the site experiencing the strongest tidal flows accumulating the most fragments. Structurally complex ASUs also retained more fragments relative to the bare control, but the degree of complexity did not affect retention and we could not distinguish between ASUs of different canopy height and the procedural control (metal frame lacking ‘leaves’). Overall, we conclude that the entanglement of C. taxifolia fragments is facilitated by structurally complex habitat and likely contributes to the successful establishment of this invader. © 2009 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Research Division:Biological Sciences
Research Group:Ecology
Research Field:Marine and estuarine ecology (incl. marine ichthyology)
Objective Division:Environmental Management
Objective Group:Marine systems and management
Objective Field:Control of pests, diseases and exotic species in marine environments
UTAS Author:Wright, JT (Associate Professor Jeffrey Wright)
ID Code:60967
Year Published:2009
Web of Science® Times Cited:3
Deposited By:NC Marine Conservation and Resource Sustainability
Deposited On:2010-02-24
Last Modified:2011-11-04

Repository Staff Only: item control page