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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 172:275-280 (1998)  -  doi:10.3354/meps172275

Molecular evidence for the aquarium origin of the green alga Caulerpa taxifolia introduced to the Mediterranean Sea

O. Jousson1,2,*, J. Pawlowski1,3, L. Zaninetti1, A. Meinesz4, C. F. Boudouresque2

1Département de Zoologie et Biologie animale, Université de Genève, CH-1224 Chêne-Bougeries/Genève, Switzerland
2Centre d'Océanologie de Marseille, UMR CNRS 6540, F-13288 Marseille, France
3Muséum d'Histoire Naturelle, CH-1211 Genève 6, Switzerland
4Laboratoire Environnement Marin Littoral, Université de Nice-Sophia Antipolis, Parc Valrose, F-06108 Nice Cedex 2, France

ABSTRACT: Here, we present the first molecular evidence that the tropical green alga Caulerpa taxifolia, which is quickly spreading in the Mediterranean and out-competing native species, escaped to the sea from a public or private aquarium. Our data show that this alga is genetically identical to the strain cultivated in western European aquaria since the early 1970s. The facility with which this strain is obtained world-wide represents a potential danger of additional biological invasions.

KEY WORDS: Caulerpa taxifolia · Mediterranean · Aquaria · ITS rDNA

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