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Aliens in Paradise. Boat density and exotic coastal mollusks in Moorea Island (French Polynesia)
Ardura, A.; Planes, S.; Garcia-Vazquez, E. (2015). Aliens in Paradise. Boat density and exotic coastal mollusks in Moorea Island (French Polynesia). Mar. Environ. Res. 112(B): 56-63. hdl.handle.net/10.1016/j.marenvres.2015.08.007
In: Marine Environmental Research. Applied Science Publishers: Barking. ISSN 0141-1136; e-ISSN 1879-0291, more
Peer reviewed article  

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Keywords
Author keywords
    Moorea Island; Exotic species; Mollusca; Intertidal habitat; Fringing reef; Maritime traffic

Authors  Top 
  • Ardura, A.
  • Planes, S.
  • Garcia-Vazquez, E., more

Abstract
    Pacific islands are particularly vulnerable to the effects of invasive species. After habitat destruction or modification, invasive species are responsible for more biological extinctions than any other cause. Further, the rate of extinction of native species has been higher on islands than anywhere else in the world. Invasive species have also degraded native ecosystems. In order to detect exotic intertidal mollusk species, an extensive sampling around Moorea Island, a more or less unspoiled island surrounded by a rich coral reef habitat, has been developed considering that sampled points have different characteristics in wave exposure, algae coverage, type of substrate, distance to ports, distance to freshwater, distance sewage and boat traffic. Samples were DNA barcoded for unequivocal species assignation.The presence of five NIS among 26 species seems an important signal of introduction of alien biota in Moorea Island coast. However they were represented by a total of 38 individuals among 1487 mollusks (2.55%). While the distance to relatively big ports influenced directly species richness, the intensity of maritime traffic measured as boat density near sampling points was significantly associated with the frequency of exotic species. Other environmental factors did not show significant correlation with the frequency of exotics, suggesting that in an environment without big discontinuities, with little habitat modification, local boat traffic is the most influential factor in the spread of exotic species. This could be mitigated relatively easily by reducing boat density in local zones of ecological interest.

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