Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Control of invasive marine invertebrates: an experimental evaluation of the use of low salinity for managing pest corals (Tubastraea spp.).

Abstract

This study investigated the use of low salinity as a killing agent for the invasive pest corals Tubastraea coccinea and Tubastraea tagusensis (Dendrophylliidae). Experiments investigated the efficacy of different salinities, the effect of colony size on susceptibility and the influence of length of exposure. Experimental treatments of colonies were carried out in aquaria. Colonies were then fixed onto experimental plates and monitored in the field periodically over a period of four weeks. The killing effectiveness of low salinity depended on the test salinity and the target species, but was independent of colony size. Low salinity was fast acting and prejudicial to survival: discoloration, necrosis, fragmenting and sloughing, exposure of the skeleton and cover by biofoulers occurred post treatment. For T. tagusensis, 50% mortality (LC50) after three days occurred at eight practical salinity units (PSU); for T. coccinea the LC50 was 2 PSU. Exposure to freshwater for 45-120 min resulted in 100% mortality for T. tagusensis, but only the 120 min period was 100% effective in killing T. coccinea. Freshwater is now routinely used for the post-border management of Tubastraea spp. This study also provides insights as to how freshwater may be used as a routine biosecurity management tool when applied pre-border to shipping vectors potentially transporting non-indigenous marine biofouling species.