Marine fouling communities from artificial and natural habitats: comparison of resistance to chemical and physical disturbances.
Assessing the resistance of fouling communities to anthropogenic disturbances is an important goal for the development of effective management and control strategies. In this context, we conducted a manipulative experiment on natural and artificial habitats to examine fouling communities that developed outside and inside a marina on Madeira Island (NE Atlantic Ocean) following the application of two types of stressors frequently observed in coastal habitats, namely chemical and physical disturbances. The tested fouling communities, dominated by native and non-indigenous species respectively, were in general strongly affected by the chemical but not by the physical disturbance applied, and a higher resistance to disturbance was observed in the communities outside the marina. This suggests higher capacities for communities richer in native species to tolerate anthropogenic disturbances, while non-indigenous species did not play a key role. Further research can assess the resilience of natural and artificial fouling communities when exposed to disturbances.