Bioinvasion in a Brazilian Bay: Filling Gaps in the Knowledge of Southwestern Atlantic Biota
Biological invasions are a major cause of global species change. Nevertheless, knowledge about the distribution and ecology of introduced species is regionally biased, and many gaps in knowledge exist for most developing countries.
To study the zoobenthos on the hard substratum of the Ilha Grande Bay, a survey was conducted on both natural and artificial substrata at three depths and seven sites. The species recorded were classified as native, cryptogenic or introduced. Multivariate analyses were conducted to assess the prevalence of introduced species in these communities and to compare the distribution of species on natural and artificial substrata of this bay to identify possible discrepancies in habitat use. Of the 61 species, 25 were cryptogenic, 10 were introduced and 26 were native. Similar numbers of introduced species were found on both natural and artificial substrata, though the community composition was significantly different between them. We also compared the species composition of the Ilha Grande Bay survey to other inventories taken around the world. The highest similarities were found between the Ilha Grande Bay inventory and the Atlantic coastal region (Tampa Bay, USA and the Gulf of Mexico), American Samoa and Pearl Harbor (USA) inventories.
This study presents the first published comprehensive list of hard substratum sessile marine invertebrate species in a Brazilian bay. The high percentage of cryptogenic species reveals gaps in both zoological records and information on introduced species for the Brazilian coast. The introduced species successfully colonized different sites in the Ilha Grande Bay, including both natural and artificial substrata. In addition, we find that artificial structures may not be good surrogates for natural rocky shores and may represent an ecological threat. Comparisons with other inventories suggest a history of broad-scale invasion, though more evidence is needed to support this conclusion.
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