Managing an invasive corallimorph at Palmyra Atoll National Wildlife Refuge, Line Islands, Central Pacific

Biological Invasions
By: , and 

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Abstract

In 2007, a phase shift from corals to corallimorpharians (CM) centered around a shipwreck was documented at Palmyra Atoll, Line Islands. Subsequent surveys revealed CM to be overgrowing the reef benthos, including corals and coralline algae, potentially placing coral ecosystems in the atoll at risk. This prompted the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the lead management agency of the atoll, to remove the shipwreck. Subsequent surveys showed reductions in CM around the ship impact site. We explain patterns of spread of the CM in terms of both life history and local currents and show with a pilot study that pulverized bleach may be an effective tool to eradicate CM on a local scale. If applied strategically, particularly in heavily infested (> 66% cover) areas, active intervention such as this could be an effective management tool to reduce CM impact on localized areas and decrease colonization rate of remaining reefs. This is the first documentation of the response of an invasive cnidarian to shipwreck removal. While this was a singular event in Palmyra, the spatial and temporal patterns of this invasion and the eradications lessons described herein, are useful for anticipating and controlling similar situations elsewhere.

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Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Managing an invasive corallimorph at Palmyra Atoll National Wildlife Refuge, Line Islands, Central Pacific
Series title Biological Invasions
DOI 10.1007/s10530-018-1696-1
Volume 20
Issue 8
Year Published 2018
Language English
Publisher Springer
Contributing office(s) National Wildlife Health Center
Description 12 p.
First page 2197
Last page 2208
Country United States
Other Geospatial Palmyra Atoll National Wildlife Refuge