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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS - Vol. 439 - Feature article
Dispersal of organisms across the oceans is brought about by dense aggregations of pumice (left), which may appear after submarine volcanic eruptions, and by ubiquitous accumulations of anthropogenic debris (right).

Bravo M, Astudillo JC, Lancellotti D, Luna-Jorquera G, Valdivia N, Thiel M


Rafting on abiotic substrata: properties of floating items and their influence on community succession


Floating substrata such as pumice, plastic and styrofoam disperse organisms across the oceans. Bravo and co-workers show that differences in surface rugosity, buoyancy and floating behavior of flotsam influence its colonization and community succession. Floating pumice is rare, but can occur in dense aggregations, enhancing the chances of simultaneous arrival of numerous colonizers. Successful colonization of plastics and styrofoam is a cause for concern, because the ubiquitous presence of anthropogenic flotsam dramatically increases the opportunity for rafting dispersal of organisms.


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