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Linking climate change and species invasion: effects on intertidal habitats. 2010-2012. (Ministerio de Ciencia e Innovación, CGL2009-07205, IP Dr. Olabarria).

The combined impacts of invasion and climate change on coastal ecosystem functioning. 2010-1012.(Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia, Portugal; IP Dr. Arenas).

Factors affecting distribution and spread of Sargassum muticum on the Galician coast. 2007-2009. (Ministerio de Medio Ambiente- SARGAL- and Xunta de Galicia; IP Dr. Incera).

For more info: Sargassum

The introduction of non-native seaweeds into different ecosystems is a global phenomenon that may cause significant social and economic hardships. Evidences suggest that non-native species alter significantly local communities. Sargassum muticum Yendo (Fensholt) originates from Asia and was introduced to North America in the 1940s and to Europe in the early 1970s. This species was first observed along the northern Spanish coast in the 1980s and has subsequently spread along from Asturias in the Galician coasts. It has since successfully colonized the shallow-subtidal and the low intertidal shores where coexists and, in certain cases, dominates on exposed and semi-exposed shores previously occupied by the local brown seaweed, Saccorhiza polyschides. Moreover, large amounts of S. muticum and S. polyschides  (wrack) are deposited on the Galician exposed beaches throughout the entire intertidal range being buried in the sediments or move about by tides and waves.

The main goal of these projects is to study the effect of the invasive seaweed, S. muticum, on the specific composition, abundance and structure of local invertebrate and algae communities from two diverse intertidal ecosystems (rocky shores and exposed beaches- via wrack deposition-). We want to compare similarities or differences between communities associated with S. muticum and those associated with the local seaweed, S. polyschides, and, therefore, to determine the ecological consequences of invasion by S. muticum. Moreover, factors affecting colonization, establishment, distribution and spread of S. muticum will be evaluated. In addition, we will determine and compare the effects of S. muticum and S. polyschides wrack on structure and composition of macrofaunal assemblages on exposed beaches.





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