Distribution of the invasive bryozoan Schizoporella japonica in Great Britain and Ireland and a review of its European distribution

Jennifer Loxton, Chris A. Wood, John D. D. Bishop, Joanne Porter, Mary E. Spencer Jones, Chris R. Nall

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The bryozoan Schizoporella japonica (Ortmann, 1890) was first recorded in European waters in 2010 and has since been reported from further locations in Great Britain (GB) and Norway. This paper provides a new earliest European record for the species from 2009, a first record from Ireland and presence and absence records for a total of 230 marinas and harbours across GB, Ireland, the Isle of Man, France and Portugal. This species is typically associated with human activity, including commercial and recreational vessels, aquaculture equipment, and both wave and tidal energy devices. It has also been observed in the natural environment, fouling rocks and boulders. The species has an extensive but widely discontinuous distribution in GB and Ireland. Although found frequently in marinas and harbours in Scotland, it inhabits only a few sites in England, Wales and Ireland, interspersed with wide gaps that are well documented as genuine absences. This appears to be a rare example of a southward-spreading invasion in GB and Ireland. The species has been reported from the Isle of Man and Norway but has not been found in France or Portugal. In the future we expect S. japonica to spread into suitable sections of the English, Welsh and Irish coasts, and further within Europe. The species’ capability for rapid spread and potential for negative impact on native ecosystems and economic activity suggests that S. japonica should now be considered invasive in GB and Ireland. As such, it is recommended that biosecurity procedures alongside effective surveillance and monitoring should be prioritised for regions outside the species’ current distribution.
Original languageEnglish
JournalBiological Invasions
Early online date28 Apr 2017
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 28 Apr 2017


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