Soares, Marcelo de Oliveira ORCID:, Garcia, Tatiane M., Giarrizzo, Tommaso, Filho, José Eduardo Martinelli, Tavares, Tallita C.L., Ziveri, Patrizia, Smith, Tyler B., Bejarano, Sonia ORCID: and Teixeira, Carlos Eduardo Peres (2023) Marine debris provide long-distance pathways for spreading invasive corals. Science of The Total Environment, 900 . p. 165637. DOI

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Anthropogenic marine debris and invasive species are pervasive in the ocean. However, research on the mechanisms and dynamics controlling their distribution in marine systems (e.g.; by floating debris acting as vectors for invasive species) is limited. Applying a numerical modeling approach, we demonstrate that rafting invasive corals (Tubastraea spp.) can be transported over long distances and reach important tropical receptor regions. In <180 days, buoyant debris can cover distances between 264 and 7170 km moving from the Brazilian semiarid coast to the Amazon coast and reaching eight regions in the Wider Caribbean (mainly the Eastern Caribbean and Greater Antilles). Analyzing 48 simulated scenarios (4 years × 3 depths × 4 months), we demonstrate that in ~86 % of the scenarios the particles are stranded in the Caribbean and in ~71 % they end up in the Amazon coast. Our results showed litter floating trajectories at 0–10 m water depth, transported every year to the Caribbean province. However, in August this transport is frequently blocked by the retroflection of the North Brazil Current adjacent to the Amazon River estuarine plume. Our results indicate routes for fast and long-distance transport of litter-rafting invasive species. We hypothesized a high risk of bioinvasion on important marine ecosystems (e.g., coral reefs) likely becoming increasingly threatened by these invasive species and debris. This highlights the imperative need for an ocean governance shift in prevention, control, and eradication, not only focused on local actions to prevent the spread of invasive species but also a broad international action to decrease and mitigate marine debris pollution globally.

Document Type: Article
Programme Area: PA2
Research affiliation: Ecology > Reef Systems
Refereed: Yes
Open Access Journal?: No
ISSN: 00489697
Date Deposited: 05 Sep 2023 14:40
Last Modified: 05 Sep 2023 14:40

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