A safe alternative to invasive Caulerpa taxifolia (Chlorophtya)? Assessing aquarium-release invasion potential of aquarium strains of the macroalgal genus Chaetomorpha (Chlorophyta)
Abbreviated Journal Title
Caulerpa taxifolia; Chaetomorpha; Aquarium dumping; Aquarium release; Macroalgae; Vegetative fragmentation; MEDITERRANEAN SEA; DENSE MATS; LINUM; ALGA; GROWTH; FRAGMENTATION; INTRODUCTIONS; ERADICATION; ECOSYSTEMS; MANAGEMENT; Biodiversity Conservation; Ecology
Aquarium releases threaten the ecological integrity of aquatic systems by introducing non-native species. Following aquarium-release invasions by Caulerpa taxifolia, other genera of marine macroalgae were promoted by aquarists as alternatives for aquarium hobbyist use. The most popular, Chaetomorpha, was named a preferable alternative to invasive Caulerpa with desirable characteristics including rapid nutrient uptake, broad environmental tolerances and ease of acquisition. As these same characteristics are also associated with invasion success, we assessed the risk posed if aquarium release activities extend to Chaetomorpha. Here we address the propensity for vegetative fragmentation, a primary contributor to the breadth of the Caulerpa invasions, as a potential invasion risk for Chaetomorpha. We monitored fragment generation of 10 purchases of Chaetomorpha from aquarium hobby retailers and tested viability of fragments 0.5-10 mm in length at 5, 22 and 30 A degrees C. We found that Chaetomorpha can survive from fragments as small as 0.5 mm (one live cell). Abundance of viable fragments generated during shipping ranged from 28 to 6,266 per purchase. In 9 of 10 trials, survival was independent of starting length, indicating that small size will not limit potential establishment. Fragments in these purchases had low survival at 5A degrees, but one purchase showed high survival at all temperatures. With high survivorship of small fragments and large numbers of fragments generated, we caution that aquarium strains of Chaetomorpha may pose a threat if released into natural waterways and encourage educational outreach strategies which focus on changing releasing behaviors rather than promoting "safe" alternatives to invasive ornamentals.
"A safe alternative to invasive Caulerpa taxifolia (Chlorophtya)? Assessing aquarium-release invasion potential of aquarium strains of the macroalgal genus Chaetomorpha (Chlorophyta)" (2014). Faculty Bibliography 2010s. 5901.