Invasive Algae Coral Reef Degradation
Problems • Competes for crevices housing wildlife, can cover and shadow out corals. • Uses nitrogen provided by coral to reproduce. • Growth at 10% increase over coral in last year. • All these lead to the degradation of coral reef and their ecosystems
The algae • Kappaphycus alvarezii • Gracilaria salicornia • Caulerpa brachypus
Kappaphycus alvareziiHawaii • Red algae • Extremely high growth rates, doubling in 15-30 days • Branches usually irregularly arranged, 3 - 18 cm long • Dominating the changing marine ecology
Gracilaria salicorniaHawaii • Red algae • Intertidal to subtidal 4 meters deep, attached to limestone and basalt substrates • Introduced to Kane‘ohe Bay and Waikiki in the 1970’s • Propagate sexually as well as asexually
Caulerpa brachypusPacific (Florida) • Green algae (dark to light green in color) • Branches, feather-like, flattened, and upright, 3 - 10 cm high • Small patches grow in sandy areas of tidepools and reef flats • Has been designated a U.S. Federal Noxious Weed and currently prohibited in the U.S
Current Projects • Coral Reef Assessment and Monitoring Program (CRAMP) • Founded in 1998 in Hawaii to monitor long-term changes in coral reef benthic communities.