Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Kappaphycus alvarezii (Rhodophyta): new record of an exotic species for the Caribbean coast of Costa Rica.

Abstract

Kappaphycus alvarezii, a red macroalgal species native to South-East Asia, has been introduced for commercial purposes to more than 20 tropical countries. In 2000, Panama became the first Central American country to develop its cultivation following a pilot-commercial approach. Twelve years after his introduction to Panama, the species was found to the south Caribbean coast. In the present study, we report the first record of K. alvarezii collected in Costa Rican waters. Genetic identification of the sample was performed with the mitochondrial marker cox2-cox3 intergenic spacer, and phylogenetic analyses showed that the sample collected grouped into a monophyletic clade with GenBank sequences from Vietnam, Indonesia, the Philippines, Brazil and Venezuela. Here we provide further description of its position with respect to other strains of K. alvarezii collected globally. Its possible route of entry to the Caribbean coast of Costa Rica is discussed. To date, it is possible to locate K. alvarezii in different areas away from the production fields which show its dispersion, and that the species is expanding; but more studies are needed to know the phase of colonization in which it is located because it is a combination of natural factors and human exploitation that determines the invasive potential of the species.