Enhancing passive sampling tools for detecting marine bioinvasions.
Early detection is important for successful management of invasive species, but optimising monitoring systems to detect multiple species from different taxonomic groups remains a major challenge. Settlement plates are often used to monitor non-indigenous marine species (NIMS) associated with vessel biofouling, but there have been few assessments of their fitness-for-purpose. We deployed arrays of settlement plates ("settlement arrays") containing combinations of treatments that reflected conditions associated with the vessel transport pathway (i.e., copper based antifouling coatings, shaded habitat) to determine the treatment combinations that maximised NIMS diversity. Horizontal (shaded) treatments preferentially sampled higher NIS diversity than vertical plates. Although plates with copper-based biocides had larger proportions of NIS to indigenous species, they sampled only a subset of NIS diversity. Overall diversity was greatly enhanced through use of multiple treatments, demonstrating benefits of multi-faceted sampling arrays for maximising the potential taxonomic and species richness.