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Habitat formed by the invasive macroalga Caulerpa filiformis (Suhr) Hering (Caulerpales, Chlorophyta) alters benthic macroinvertebrate assemblages in Peru

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Pip MooreORCiD



This is the authors' accepted manuscript of an article that has been published in its final definitive form by Springer Netherlands, 2022.

For re-use rights please refer to the publisher's terms and conditions.


© 2022, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Nature Switzerland AG. The green macroalga Caulerpa filiformis has been spreading on shallow soft sediment habitats along the Peruvian coast, colonizing previously unvegetated sediments to create monospecific meadows. We examined the nature of the impact of C. filiformis meadows on the density, taxonomic richness and assemblage structure of epifaunal and infaunal benthic macroinvertebrates. Specifically, we tested whether the spread of C. filiformis has resulted in different macroinvertebrate assemblages than those formed by the dominant native macroalgae (i.e., Rhodymenia spp.) and unvegetated sediments. Surveys were undertaken in two bays in each of two locations, in central and southern Peru, during winter 2017 and summer 2018. In general, our results show that macroinvertebrate assemblages were similar across all three habitats, although there were some differences, related to location and time, but with no clear patterns observed. Taxonomic richness and density was generally higher in the vegetated habitats than the unvegetated habitat, and where there were differences between the two vegetated habitats there was no consistent pattern of which habitat supported the highest richness or density. Given invading C. filiformis is primarily colonizing unvegetated habitats it would appear that this species is creating a new niche which supports similar assemblages, but higher taxonomic richness and density than unvegetated habitats. While our study suggests that C. filiformis is having a limited ecological impact we recommend that actions be put in place to limit the spread of this invasive species at the same time as increasing monitoring of the ecological impacts of this species as lags in the ecological impacts of invasive species are common.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Aguilar S, Moore PJ, Uribe RA

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Biological Invasions

Year: 2022

Pages: Epub ahead of print

Online publication date: 28/06/2022

Acceptance date: 12/06/2022

Date deposited: 27/07/2022

ISSN (print): 1387-3547

ISSN (electronic): 1573-1464

Publisher: Springer Netherlands


DOI: 10.1007/s10530-022-02847-x

ePrints DOI: 10.57711/kda7-dy83


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