MEPS - Vol. 325 - Feature article

The invasive green alga Codium fragile ssp. tomentosoides growing within a gap in a kelp bed (Laminaria longicruris) in Nova Scotia. Photo: Robert Scheibling

Scheibling RE, Gagnon P

 

Competitive interactions between the invasive green alga Codium fragile ssp. tomentosoides and native canopy-forming seaweeds in Nova Scotia (Canada)

 

The invasive green alga Codium fragile ssp. tomentosoides is displacing native kelps as the dominant canopy-forming seaweed along the Atlantic coast of Nova Scotia, Canada. In a series of manipulative field experiments, Scheibling & Gagnon show that C. fragile opportunistically exploits disturbance-generated gaps in kelp beds and, once established, forms dense meadows that inhibit subsequent re-colonization by kelps and other native seaweeds. This shift in algal dominance may have important repercussions for the structure and functioning of shallow subtidal ecosystems in the region.

 

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