The effects of exotic seaweeds on native benthic assemblages: variability between trophic levels and influence of background environmental and biological conditions
1 University of Pisa, Pisa, Italy
2 Bangor University, Bangor, UK
3 Hellenic Centre for Marine Research, Iraklion, Crete, Greece
4 University College Dublin, Dublin, Ireland
5 Estonian Marine Institute, Tallinn, Estonia
6 Israel Oceanographic and Limnological Research, Haifa, Israel
Environmental Evidence 2012, 1:8 doi:10.1186/2047-2382-1-8Published: 23 July 2012
Biological invasions are among the most severe threats to marine biodiversity. The impacts of introduced seaweeds on native macroalgal assemblages have been thoroughly reviewed. In contrast, no attempt has been made to synthesize the available information on the effects of exotic seaweeds on other trophic levels. In addition, it has not been clarified whether the effects of introduced seaweeds on native assemblages vary according to background physical and biological conditions.
This protocol provides details of our proposed method to carry out a systematic review aiming to identify and synthesize existing knowledge to answer the following primary questions: a) how does the impact of the presence of exotic seaweeds on native primary consumers (across trophic levels) compare in magnitude and extent to that observed on native primary producers (same trophic level)?; b) does the intensity of the effects of the presence of exotic seaweeds on native benthic ecosystems vary along a gradient of human disturbance (i.e. from urban/industrial areas to extra-urban areas to pristine areas)?