Marine Biology

, Volume 151, Issue 4, pp 1299–1307 | Cite as

Hull fouling on commercial ships as a vector of macroalgal introduction

  • Frédéric MineurEmail author
  • Mark P. Johnson
  • Christine A. Maggs
  • Herre Stegenga
Research Article


Hull fouling is thought to have been the vector of introduction for many algal species. We studied ships arriving at a Mediterranean harbour to clarify the present role of commercial cargo shipping in algal introductions. A total of 31 macroalgal taxa were identified from 22 sampled hulls. The majority of records (58%) were of species with a known cosmopolitan geographical distribution. Due to a prevalence of cosmopolitan species and a high turnover of fouling communities, species composition of assemblages did not appear to be influenced by the area of origin, length of ship or age of coating. In the light of the present results, hull fouling on standard trading commercial vessels does not seem to pose a significant risk for new macroalgal species introductions. However, a high proportion of non-cosmopolitan species found on a ship with non-toxic coating may modify this assessment, especially in the light of the increasing use of such coatings and the potential future changes in shipping routes.


Hull Macroalgae Ulva Ballast Water International Maritime Organization 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



The authors thank Jean-Michel Albano and all the crew of the “Société de Lamanage” for their help during the sampling operations; Philippe Friboulet and the harbour authorities; François Lafaille and all the shipping agencies in Sète (Sea Invest, SOGEMA, Navitrans, Ferrari, NTV Sogena, CGMS, Delpierre, NS Suquet); Thomas Belsher and Lionel Loubersac (IFREMER) for providing lab space; and Marc Verlaque for his advice. This study was supported by an EU framework VI contract: introduced algae in European waters (ALIENS).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Frédéric Mineur
    • 1
    Email author
  • Mark P. Johnson
    • 1
  • Christine A. Maggs
    • 1
  • Herre Stegenga
    • 2
  1. 1.School of Biological SciencesQueen’s University Belfast, Medical Biology CentreBelfastUK
  2. 2.National Herbarium of the Netherlands2300 RA LeidenThe Netherlands

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