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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 558:153-158 (2016)  -  DOI:

Fast-spreading green beds of recently introduced Halimeda incrassata invade Mallorca island (NW Mediterranean Sea)

Josep Alós1,2,*, Fiona Tomas1,3, Jorge Terrados1, Heroen Verbruggen4, Enric Ballesteros5

1Instituto Mediterráneo de Estudios Avanzados, IMEDEA (CSIC-UIB). C/ Miquel Marqués 21, 07190, Esporles, Illes Balears, Spain
2Department of Biology and Ecology of Fishes, Leibniz-Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries, Müggelseedamm 310, 12587 Berlin, Germany
3Department of Fisheries and Wildlife, Oregon State University, OR, USA
4School of BioSciences, University of Melbourne, Victoria 3010, Australia
5Centre d’Estudis Avançats de Blanes (CEAB-CSIC), C/ Accés Cala Sant Francesc 14, 17300, Girona, Spain
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: Mediterranean marine biodiversity is undergoing a tropicalization process. We present the first record and spread dynamics of the tropical green seaweed Halimeda incrassata (Bryopsidales, Chlorophyta) from the Mediterranean Sea. Plants were observed at 2 sites off Mallorca island (NW Mediterranean), and species identification was confirmed molecularly. Since the first observation of this alien seaweed in 2011, it has spread rapidly in the shallow subtidal habitat of a marine protected area located in Palma Bay, which has a depth of up to ca. 20 m. By 2015, this species spread by a factor of 6.75 and extended to an area of 2.7 km2, covering a total of 41% of the monitored area. The dynamics of the invasion suggest rapid colonization and establishment and spreading of the species through shallow sedimentary and rocky habitats. H. incrassata has the potential to strongly alter the ecosystem services and functioning of shallow Mediterranean habitats. We encourage authorities to pay attention to the spread of this alien seaweed at larger scales and determine the positive and negative effects of the invasion in order to facilitate research-driven decision making.

KEY WORDS: Alien species · Fisheries · Mediterranean Sea · Tropicalization · Sediments · tufA gene

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Cite this article as: Alós J, Tomas F, Terrados J, Verbruggen H, Ballesteros E (2016) Fast-spreading green beds of recently introduced Halimeda incrassata invade Mallorca island (NW Mediterranean Sea). Mar Ecol Prog Ser 558:153-158.

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