Thursday, January 4, 2018

Results of the study of invasive algae in National Parks published in Marine Pollution Bulletin

by Xavier Turon

We are happy to report that the results concerning the invaded vs non-invaded communities sampled in 2015 have now been published in the international journal Marine Pollution Bulletin: Wangensteen OS, Cebrian E, PalacĂ­n C, Turon X. 2018. Under the canopy: Community-wide effects of invasive algae in Marine Protected Areas revealed by metabarcoding. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 127:54-66.

Elsevier kindly provides a 50 days free access (starting 21 Dec) to this article at,ashmKxI. After this period you will need a subscription to be able to download it

In this paper we report on the effect that invasive algae have at the community level, targeting mainly the smaller size components (small macrofauna and meiofauna), using the 18S and the COI genes and the fractionation procedure and bioinformatic pipeline developed in our project. Here goes the abstract:

We analysed with multigene (18S and COI) metabarcoding the effects of the proliferation of invasive seaweeds on rocky littoral communities in two Spanish Marine Protected Areas. The invasive algae studied were Caulerpa cylindracea, Lophocladia lallemandii and Asparagopsis armata. They are canopy-forming, landscape-dominant seaweeds, and we were interested in their effects on the underlying communities of meiobenthos and macrobenthos, separated in two size fractions through sieving. A new semiquantitative treatment of metabarcoding data is introduced. The results for both markers showed that the presence of the invasive seaweed had a significant effect on the understory communities for Lophocladia lallemandii and Asparagopsis armata but not for Caulerpa cylindracea. Likewise, changes in MOTU richness and diversity with invasion status varied in magnitude and direction depending on the alga considered. Our results showed that metabarcoding allows monitoring of the less conspicuous, but not least important, effects of the presence of dominant invasive seaweeds.

Images of the communities analysed, with (left) and without (right) invasive algae. A,B: Cc (Caulerpa cylindracea) communities. C,D: Ll (Lophocladia lallemandii) communities. E,F: Aa (Asparagopsis armata) communities. Pictures: (A) from Eneko Aspillaga; (B,F) from the authors; (C,D) from Pol Capdevila; (E) from Enric Ballesteros.