Experimental evaluation of the effects of management of invasive corals on native communities

  • Published source details De Paula A.F., Fleury B., Lages B. & Creed J. (2017) Experimental evaluation of the effects of management of invasive corals on native communities. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 572, 141-154.


This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

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

Action Link
Subtidal Benthic Invertebrate Conservation
  1. Remove or capture non-native, invasive or other problematic species

    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).

    (Summarised by: Anaëlle Lemasson & Laura Pettit)

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