Influence of seawater temperature and shipping on the spread and establishment of marine fouling species
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This study assessed the influence of summer seawater temperature and shipping on the introduction, establishment, and spread of nonindigenous fouling species on both local and regional scales in coastal regions of the USA. Using photographic surveys of 80 marinas on the east and west coasts of the USA, we defined thermal niches and ranges of summer sea surface temperature (SSST) for 27 abundant fouling species. We calculated percent cover of all abundant tunicates and bryozoans across sites and correlated species richness with water temperature and cargo shipping volume in each region. We quantified the relative importance of cargo shipping, seawater temperature, and distance between sites using Jaccard similarity between paired sites. Native species richness was positively correlated with SSST, while nonindigenous species (NIS) richness displayed a parabolic relationship with a peak at 20 °C. Temperature and cargo shipping traffic explained 53 % of variability in NIS richness, and only temperature was correlated with similarity between sites. We also found no link between similarity and distance between sites, and site–site comparisons showed no effect of NIS on native species richness on the scale of this study. It appears that cargo shipping may play a regional role in introduction of new species, but on local scales NIS distributions are more haphazard, possibly driven by local recreational boat traffic and associated larval dispersal or by other vectors affecting the local spread of these species. Our study demonstrates the importance of seawater temperature in allowing spread of NIS and influencing similarity between sites and regions.
KeywordsDock Seawater Temperature Automatic Identification System Cargo Shipping Native Species Richness
Thanks to all of the individuals and institutions that allowed the use of laboratory space to gather data for this study and that provided help with taxonomic identifications. These include but are not limited to: Lon Garrison at the Sitka Sound Science Center, Dr. Richard Emlet at the Oregon Institute of Marine Biology, Karl Menard and Dr. Brian Gaylord at Bodega Marine Laboratory, Dr. Jennifer Smith at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, Tim Miller and Linda Healy at Darling Marine Center, Charles Woods at University of Connecticut, Dr. Dan Rittschof at Duke Marine Laboratory, and Hugh Reichardt and Sherry Reed at Smithsonian Marine Station. In addition, this survey work could not have been completed without voluntary cooperation from 80 marinas. This manuscript was greatly improved with input from Dr. Rick Osman. Funding was provided by Connecticut Sea Grant Project Number PD-12-17 and by the University of Connecticut Department of Marine Science Pre-doctoral Fellowship.
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