Journal of Marine Science: Research & Development
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Inter-oceanic species invasions can pose significant threats to local fauna and flora. Prior invasions by closely related species
can be indicators of threat for the new species.
is an Indo-Pacific coral that colonized the Caribbean in
the 1940s and has greatly expanded its range, occurring in hundreds of thousands of colonies per site. Its congener
recently invaded the Gulf of Mexico. It was originally found on 1/81 oil platforms SW of the Mississippi River and
subsequent surveys via ROV have demonstrated its presence on 9 more to 134 m depth, at ≤15 colonies/m2. Densities of both
species peaked at 28.4o lat., -90o long. Data suggest that platform MC-209 was the original colonization site for
Population growth in
cover may have equilibrated in this region. The dominance of small
indicates recent settlement and growth. Density did not correlate strongly with colony size, suggesting that growth varied
with environmental conditions on a site-specific basis. Depth distributions varied between sites in both species; Mississippi
River discharge could have influenced this. It was assessed
? competitive abilities via ROV video surveys of
interactions with local biota, and via laboratory experiments utilizing
was found to be a formidable competitor against Caribbean fauna, using extracoelenteric digestion to
kill its neighbors. It is possible that
could spread throughout the tropical western Atlantic, like
eradication may be an option.
Paul W Sammarco (PhD, Ecology & Evolution, Stony Brook University) is a Professor, Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium (LUMCON), Louisiana, USA.
He has researched coral reef ecology for >40 years in the Caribbean and Great Barrier Reef, Australia. He has ~300 publications. His employment experiences
include: Asst. Professor, Clarkson University; Senior Research Scientist, Australian Institute of Marine Science; Director ? Envtl. Research, Resource Assessment
Commission, Dept. Prime Minister and Cabinet (Australia); Executive Director, LUMCON; Executive Director, Assn. Marine Laboratories Caribbean; Chairman,
State Commission, South Louisiana Wetlands Discovery Center; Assoc. Editor, Marine Biology, Marine Ecology Progress Series, and
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