Remove or capture non-native, invasive or other problematic species

How is the evidence assessed?
  • Effectiveness
  • Certainty
  • Harms

Study locations

Key messages

  • One study examined the effects of removing or capturing non-native, invasive or other problematic species on subtidal benthic invertebrates. The study was in the South Atlantic Ocean (Brazil).




  • Cnidarian abundance (1 study): One replicated, controlled, before-and-after study in the southwest Atlantic found that, regardless of the method used, removing invasive corals reduced the cover of native zoanthids.
  • Sponge abundance (1 study): One replicated, controlled, before-and-after study in the southwest Atlantic found that the effect of removing invasive corals on the cover of native sponges varied with the removal method used.

About key messages

Key messages provide a descriptive index to studies we have found that test this intervention.

Studies are not directly comparable or of equal value. When making decisions based on this evidence, you should consider factors such as study size, study design, reported metrics and relevance of the study to your situation, rather than simply counting the number of studies that support a particular interpretation.

Supporting evidence from individual studies

  1. A replicated, controlled, before-and-after study in 2004–2006 of 20 plots in one rocky reef area of the southwest Atlantic, Brazil (De Paula et al. 2017) found that after a year, the effect of removing the invasive corals Tubastraea coccinea and Tubastraea tagusensis on the cover of native zoanthid Palythoa caribaeorum and native sponges varied with the removal method used. Sponge cover was greater in plots where multiple removals of invasive corals occurred (35%), and lower in plots where removal occurred once (15%), where the whole seabed community was removed once (21%), and where no removal occurred (17%). Zoanthid cover was lower in the single-removal plots (10%) compared to the no-removal plots (22%), while community-removal plots were never recolonised (0% cover after a year). Zoanthids were absent from the multiple-removal plots before removal and did not colonise over time. After a year, invasive corals had recolonised all removal plots (single-removal: 14%; multiple-removal: 3%; community-removal: 14%; no removal: 27%). The two corals invaded the reef approximately 20 years prior. Twenty 0.16 m2 plots, all with ≥20% cover of invasive corals were selected. Four treatments were used (5 plots/treatment): a single removal of invasive corals (December 2004), multiple removals of invasive corals, a single removal of the whole community (December 2004), and no removal. Removal was done manually by divers. Before, immediately after first removal, and on eight occasions afterwards, divers counted corals, zoanthids and sponges in each plot, and removed invasive corals in the multiple removal treatment. Before removal, all plots had similar covers of sponge and zoanthids (apart from multiple-removal plots where zoanthids were absent).

    Study and other actions tested
Please cite as:

Lemasson, A.J., Pettit, L.R., Smith, R.K. & Sutherland, W.J. (2020) Subtidal Benthic Invertebrate Conservation. Pages 635-732 in: W.J. Sutherland, L.V. Dicks, S.O. Petrovan & R.K. Smith (eds) What Works in Conservation 2020. Open Book Publishers, Cambridge, UK.

Where has this evidence come from?

List of journals searched by synopsis

All the journals searched for all synopses

Subtidal Benthic Invertebrate Conservation

This Action forms part of the Action Synopsis:

Subtidal Benthic Invertebrate Conservation
Subtidal Benthic Invertebrate Conservation

Subtidal Benthic Invertebrate Conservation - Published 2020

What Works 2021 cover

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What Works in Conservation provides expert assessments of the effectiveness of actions, based on summarised evidence, in synopses. Subjects covered so far include amphibians, birds, mammals, forests, peatland and control of freshwater invasive species. More are in progress.

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