Invasive algae discovered “for the first time” on the coast of Barcelona

by Lorraine Williamson
red algae

PROVINCIA OF BARCELONA – An algae native to tropical regions such as the warm parts of the Atlantic Ocean and the Indo-Pacific has been observed “for the first time” off the coast of Barcelona. 

It concerns the invasive tropical alga Asparagopsis taxiformis. This has been confirmed by researchers from the citizen science platform Observadores del Mar in collaboration with the team from the Center d’Estudis Avançats de Blanes (Barcelona) (CEAB-CSIC). The alga has been identified and included in the invasive algae monitoring carried out in collaboration with the Catalan Water Agency (ACA). 

The research team has stated that the invasive nature of this red alga, which belongs to the Bonnemaisoniáceas family, has already been confirmed in the rocky bottoms of the Balearic Islands and on the coasts of Andalucia, Murcia and Valencia. 

Rise in sea temperature

These algae have “significant invasive potential,” as they can cover surface rock bottoms up to 100 feet deep and even grow on other algae and marine plants. In addition, according to the researchers, it can cause changes in marine ecosystems, “change habitats and displace or wipe out native species.” 

The CEAB-CSIC experts confirm that the finding of Asparagopsis taxiformis on the coast of Barcelona is related to the rise in sea temperature. 

Also see: High water temperature trend in the Mediterranean Sea continues 

The researchers indicate that the alga must have been introduced into the Mediterranean from the Indian Ocean via the Suez Canal, “one of the main routes for the introduction of foreign species via maritime transport.” In addition, they also do not exclude the hypothesis of transport from the Atlantic Ocean to the Strait of Gibraltar and from there to the coast of Catalonia. 

Also see: Unprecedented amount of seaweed washes up on beaches in Cadiz 

You may also like