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Open AccessArticle

An Alien Invader is the Cause of Homogenization in the Recipient Ecosystem: A Simulation-Like Approach

1
DiSTAV (Department of Earth, Environmental and Life Sciences), University of Genoa, 16132 Genova, Italy
2
Mediterranean Institute of Biodiversity and marine and continental Ecology, CNRS, Station Marine d’Endoume, 13007 Marseille, France
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Diversity 2019, 11(9), 146; https://doi.org/10.3390/d11090146
Received: 6 July 2019 / Revised: 18 August 2019 / Accepted: 23 August 2019 / Published: 26 August 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biological Invasions 2020 Horizon)
Biotic homogenization is an expected effect of biological invasions. Invasive alien species typically show great adaptability to a wide range of environmental conditions and may expand into different habitats, thus reducing the dissimilarity among the recipient communities. We tested this assumption by analyzing a comprehensive database (78 species × 229 samples) collected between 2012 and 2017 in the marine protected area of Portofino (NW Italy), where Caulerpa cylindracea, one of the worst invaders in the Mediterranean Sea, exhibits high substratum cover at depths between 1 m and 45 m in 14 different communities (identified according to the European Nature Information System EUNIS for habitat classification). Five samples for each of the eight depth zones (i.e., 5 m, 10 m, 15 m, 20 m, 25 m, 30 m, 35 m, and 40 m) were randomly re-sampled from the comprehensive database to produce a dataset of 67 species × 40 samples. Then, a second dataset of 66 species × 40 samples was simulated by excluding Caulerpa cylindracea. Both re-sampled datasets underwent multivariate analysis. In the presence of C. cylindracea, the overall similarity among samples was higher, thus indicating homogenization of the rocky reef communities of Portofino Marine Protected Area. Continued monitoring activity is needed to understand and assess the pattern and extent of C. cylindracea’s inclusion in the recipient ecosystems. View Full-Text
Keywords: rocky reefs; biotic homogenization; Caulerpa cylindracea; EUNIS habitats; marine protected area; Mediterranean Sea rocky reefs; biotic homogenization; Caulerpa cylindracea; EUNIS habitats; marine protected area; Mediterranean Sea
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Morri, C.; Montefalcone, M.; Gatti, G.; Vassallo, P.; Paoli, C.; Bianchi, C.N. An Alien Invader is the Cause of Homogenization in the Recipient Ecosystem: A Simulation-Like Approach. Diversity 2019, 11, 146.

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