Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

A marine invasive benthic diatom species [Licmophora normaniana (Greville) Wahrer, 1985] in an inland oasis mineral spring in Egypt.

Abstract

Sampling campaigns associated with the ongoing PhyBiO project revealed the new presence of the benthic pinnate heterovalvar araphid diatom Licmophora normaniana. This species is considered cosmopolitan and is common on marine coasts. Based on literature searches, the following identification represents the first known occurrence in an inland mineral spring in the Siwa Oasis, the Western Desert of Egypt, and of this diatom species in mineral desert springs generally, or from any inland waterbody. The presence of L. normaniana was confirmed using light and scanning electron microscopy. Environmental variables (including major ions and metals) of this Saharan biotope were measured to characterize the habitat of this population. We hypothesize that the introduction of this marine species in the Siwa Oasis was related to fish farming activities carried out in the springhead by local inhabitants. We further hypothesize that the primary negative consequence of this invasion is likely to be the alteration of diatom community composition, with possible replacement of characteristic native taxa. Biological invasions place further pressure on spring habitats in oases, where they are affected by numerous growing human impacts, including global climatic changes. Therefore, legislation to protect these springs and enable sustainable and adaptive management, coupled with raised public awareness, is urgently needed to safeguard and conserve these unique biodiversity hotspots.