Hot Algae Summer: ENSO Effects on Invasive Alien Algae in Hawaii

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2021-12-07
Authors
Pujol, Beatrice
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6
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1
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Efficient management of invasive populations is critical to maintaining the health of ecosystems, especially those of coastal marine areas. It is necessary to understand, therefore, the interactions between invasive species and abiotic factors to better control population growth. This study examined the relationship between invasive alien algae (IAA) in Maunalua Bay, Hawaii and El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO), finding that the average percent cover of IAA was significantly greater during ENSO-neutral years than El Nino years. This was true of each of the three major invasive algae species: Acanthophora spicifera, Avrainvillea amadelpha, and Gracilaria salicornia. These results are contrary to previous, similar studies which found that percent cover of algae increased during El Nino years, likely as a result of increased temperatures which facilitate algal growth. This might indicate that sea temperatures in Maunalua Bay may have reached the optimum for algal growth as a result of anthropogenic climate change, meaning that any additional rise in temperature hinders algal growth.
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