Sarah Albright (MS student at CSUS), Dr. Andrew Sellers (STRI Panama), and Davidson just published an Invasion Note investigating potential biotic resistance by native herbivores on an invasive tropical alga.
This work is a follow up to Sellers, Saltonstall, and Davidson's earlier work in Bocas del Toro Panama. Previously, we observed large abundances of the invasive Kappaphycus alvarezii escaping two abandoned farms. The alga occurred in very high cover in some areas and even started overgrowing coral reef and smothering seagrass beds. However, we also observed several herbivores, such as native urchins, feeding on the alga.
In this study we explored the effect of native herbivores using an herbivore exclusion experiment and a short lab experiment. Our results suggest native herbivores may help reduce abundances of escaping algae. However, we hope to better explore the role of native herbivores as biotic resistance to Kappaphycus with a larger future experiment. You can read more about the study here.
Albright, S.L., Sellers, A.J. & Davidson, T.M. Native urchins as potential agents of biotic resistance to the introduced alga Kappaphycus alvarezii in a tropical lagoon. Biol Invasions (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10530-021-02651-z