The establishment of the invasive non-native macroalga Sargassum muticum in the north of Scotland

Andrew Want*, Iveta Matejusova, Jenni E. Kakkonen

*Corresponding author for this work

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Abstract

The spread of the brown seaweed Sargassum muticum is one of the best documented invasions of a non-native marine species. Observation of a potentially established population of S. muticum in the Orkney Islands archipelago, located off the northern coast of Scotland, was reported by recreational snorkellers in 2019 and 2020. The present study summarises a focussed investigation to confirm its presence and current local distribution, using data from 46 survey sites monitored as a part of the Orkney Islands Council Harbour Authority monitoring programme. Findings in this study represent the most northerly record of an established population of S. muticum in the United Kingdom, extending the latitudinal range in this country by 1.44° (159 km) northwards, and indicate only localised presence of this species. Analysis of a partial cytochrome oxidase I gene sequence confirmed the visual species identification. Possible vectors of introduction, gaps in the geographic range, local ecological and economic impacts, and the potential ameliorating factor of deep rockpools on wave exposed shores for S. muticum are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere69
JournalJournal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom
Volume103
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 13 Sept 2023

Keywords

  • British waters
  • cytochrome oxidase I
  • invasive species
  • macroalgae
  • rock pools
  • Sargassum muticum

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aquatic Science

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