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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 668:21-38 (2021)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/meps13710

Winners and losers: prevalence of non-indigenous species under simulated marine heatwaves and high propagule pressure

Nuno Castro1,2,*, Patrício Ramalhosa1,3, Eva Cacabelos1, José L. Costa2, João Canning-Clode1,4, Ignacio Gestoso1,4

1MARE - Marine and Environmental Sciences Centre, Agência Regional para o Desenvolvimento da Investigação Tecnologia e Inovação (ARDITI) 9020-105 Funchal, Portugal
2MARE - Marine and Environmental Sciences Centre, Faculdade de Ciências, Universidade de Lisboa, 1749-016 Lisbon, Portugal
3OOM - Oceanic Observatory of Madeira, Agência Regional para o Desenvolvimento da Investigação Tecnologia e Inovação (ARDITI), 9020-105 Funchal, Portugal
4Smithsonian Environmental Research Center, 647 Contees Wharf Road, Edgewater, Maryland 21037, USA
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: Global warming is increasing the frequency, duration and intensity of extreme events such as marine heat waves (MHWs). The effects of MHWs include a variety of negative environmental impacts. Extreme weather events can interact with other environmental stressors such as invasion by marine non-indigenous species (NIS). The aim of this study was to (1) compare the responses of fouling assemblages recruited within a harbour (highly invaded) with the responses of those recruited in natural habitats (not invaded) to simulated MHWs of different temperatures and durations, and (2) evaluate the legacy effects of those MHWs on the invasibility of both types of assemblage by deploying them in a marina environment (high NIS propagule pressure). Experimental assemblages were sampled after 5 or 10 d of exposure to 1 of 3 different temperature conditions to examine the effects of varying MHW conditions. Later those assemblages were deployed inside a marina facility to test the invasibility of heat-stressed assemblages. The results revealed that higher temperatures and longer MHWs had an overall negative impact on both native and non-indigenous assemblages. Shorter MHWs had greater effects on assemblages dominated by NIS, while longer MHWs affected native species more. Increasing MHW duration promoted increased variability in the resulting invasive assemblages. Winner and loser species and homogenisation could potentially alter the legacy effects of MHWs on the pattern of NIS recruitment. This study highlights the importance of interactions between environmental stressors to the conservation of coastal communities, crucial ecosystems on oceanic islands.


KEY WORDS: Climate change · Environmental stressors · Biological invasions · Madeira island · Mesocosms


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Cite this article as: Castro N, Ramalhosa P, Cacabelos E, Costa JL, Canning-Clode J, Gestoso I (2021) Winners and losers: prevalence of non-indigenous species under simulated marine heatwaves and high propagule pressure. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 668:21-38. https://doi.org/10.3354/meps13710

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