Unaided dispersal risk of Magallana gigas into and around the UK: combining particle tracking modelling and environmental suitability scoring

Louisa E. Wood*, Tiago A.M. Silva, Richard Heal, Adam Kennerley, Paul Stebbing, Liam Fernand, Hannah J. Tidbury

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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    Abstract

    Marine non-indigenous species are a significant threat to marine ecosystems with prevention of introduction and early detection considered to be the only effective management strategy. Knowledge of the unaided pathway has received relatively little attention, despite being integral to the implementation of robust monitoring and surveillance. Here, particle tracking modelling is combined with spatial analysis of environmental suitability, to highlight UK coastal areas at risk of introduction and spread of Magallana gigas by the unaided pathway. ‘Introduction into UK’ scenarios were based on spawning from the continental coast, Republic of Ireland, Channel Islands and Isle of Man and ‘spread within UK’ scenarios were based on spawning from known UK wild populations and aquaculture sites. Artificial structures were included as spawning sites in an introduction scenario. The UK coast was scored, based on parameters influencing larval settlement, to reflect environmental suitability. Risk maps were produced to highlight areas of the UK coast at elevated risk of introduction and spread of M. gigas by the unaided pathway. This study highlights that introduction of M. gigas into UK waters via the unaided pathway is possible, with offshore structures increasing the potential geographical extent of introduction. Further, there is potential for substantial secondary spread from aquaculture sites and wild populations in the UK. The results of the study are considered in the context of national M. gigas management, whilst the approach is contextualised more broadly as a tool to further understanding of a little-known, yet significant pathway.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1719-1738
    Number of pages20
    JournalBiological Invasions
    Volume23
    Issue number6
    Early online date3 Feb 2021
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - Jun 2021

    Keywords

    • Crassostrea gigas
    • GETM
    • GITM
    • Pacific oyster
    • Risk analysis
    • Surveillance

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