Could the invasive scleractinians Tubastraea coccinea and T. tagusensis replace the dominant zoantharian Palythoa caribaeorum in the Brazilian subtidal?

Coral Reefs, Apr 2017

B. L. P. Luz, M. V. Kitahara

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Could the invasive scleractinians Tubastraea coccinea and T. tagusensis replace the dominant zoantharian Palythoa caribaeorum in the Brazilian subtidal?

Could the invasive scleractinians Tubastraea coccinea and T. tagusensis replace the dominant zoantharian Palythoa caribaeorum in the Brazilian subtidal? 0 M. V. Kitahara Departamento de Cieˆncias do Mar, Universidade Federal de Sa ̃o Paulo , Santos , Brazil 1 B. L. P. Luz M. V. Kitahara Centro de Biologia Marinha, Universidade de Sa ̃o Paulo , Sa ̃o Sebastia ̃o , Brazil 2 Castro CB , Pires DO (2001) Brazilian coral reefs: what we already know and what is still missing. Bull Mar Sci 69:357-371 Creed JC, Fenner D, Sammarco P, Cairns SD, Capel KCC, Junqueira AO, Cruz I, Miranda RJ , Carlos-Junior L, Mantelatto MC, Oigman-Pszczol S (2017) The invasion of the azooxanthellate coral Tubastraea (Scleractinia: Dendrophylliidae) throughout the world: history , path- ways and vectors. Biol Invasions 19:283-305 Gleibs S , Mebs D, Werding B (1995) Studies on the origin and distribution of palytoxin in a Caribbean coral reef. Toxicon 33:1531-1537 Commonly known as sun corals, Tubastraea coccinea and Fig. 1 a Natural dominance of Palythoa caribaeorum on shallow-water rocky shores of southeastern Brazil. b-e Series of images showing Tubastraea tagusensis outcompeting P. caribaeorum. Arrows indicate damaged/necrosed tissue of P. caribaeorum due to direct contact with T. tagusensis. c-e Note the halo in the zoantharian formed by the tissue expansion of T. tagusensis - locality where the invasion has covered the vertical portion of the infralittoral, we observed that sun corals are outcompeting Palythoa caribaeorum. The latter is one of the most dominant species in shallow waters along the Brazilian coast (Fig. 1a). Palythoa caribaeorum is considered an aggressive competitor due to the production of palytoxin (Gleibs et al. 1995), but when in direct contact with sun corals, P. caribaeorum colonies receded or necrosed (Fig. 1b–e). Thus, since P. caribaeorum is a community structuring species on Brazilian rocky shores, its replacement with the invasive sun corals may change biodiversity and community dynamics in shallow waters. Monitoring and management is urgently needed to control invasive Tubastrea spp. and the potential biodiversity loss due to Acknowledgements The authors thank the Sa˜o Paulo University Marine Biology Centre (CEBIMar) for their support. B.L.P. Luz gratefully acknowledges the Coastal and Ocean Systems Graduate Program and Higher Education Personnel Improvement Coordination for the Ph.D. scholarship.


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B. L. P. Luz, M. V. Kitahara. Could the invasive scleractinians Tubastraea coccinea and T. tagusensis replace the dominant zoantharian Palythoa caribaeorum in the Brazilian subtidal?, Coral Reefs, 2017, 1-1, DOI: 10.1007/s00338-017-1578-5