Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Potentially combined effect of the invasive seaweed Caulerpa cylindracea (Sonder) and sediment deposition rates on organic matter and meiofaunal assemblages.

Abstract

The seaweed Caulerpa cylindracea (Sonder) is one of the most successful marine bioinvaders worldwide. Caulerpa cylindracea can influence the quantity and biochemical composition of sedimentary organic matter (OM). However, it is still unknown if the effects of C. cylindracea on both OM and small metazoans (i.e. meiofauna) can change according to different sediment deposition rates. To provide insights on this, we investigated the biochemical composition of sediments along with the abundance and composition of meiofaunal assemblages in sediments colonized and not-colonized by the seaweed C. cylindracea under different regimes of sediment deposition. Our results show that the presence of the invasive alga C. cylindracea could alter quantity, biochemical composition, and nutritional quality of organic detritus and influence the overall functioning of the benthic system, but also that the observed effects could be context-dependent. In particular, we show that the presence of C. cylindracea could have a positive effect on meiofaunal abundance wherever the sediment deposition rates are low, whereas the contextual presence of high to medium sedimentation rates can provoke an accumulation of sedimentary organic matter, less favourable bioavailability of food for the benthos, and consequent negative effects on meiofauna.