[Coral-List] New overgrowing tunicate?
Jcraft at coastalplanning.net
Fri May 15 10:48:48 EDT 2009
We have noticed, over the past 1 to 1 ½ years that there has been an explosion of tunicate growth on the west-central coast of Florida off the Tampa area. Although present on the natural hardbottom, it has taken over most nearshore artificial reefs, overgrowing algae, stony and octocorals. A recent survey off Longboat Key revealed percent covers as high as 60-70% in some quadrats. The culprit appears to be a species of Eudistoma, although positive identification has not been made (we collected samples, if anyone is interested). Although that species is not new, I have never seen it in the mass quantities recently observed. Has anyone noticed this trend anywhere else? I haven’t seen Tridemnum solidum in the Gulf of Mexico, at least not along the Florida coast. Could it be that this observed species is the gulf equivalent? Please let me know if you would like to see photos.
Jessica A. Craft
Senior Environmental Scientist I
Coastal Planning & Engineering
Marine Science & Biological Research Department
2481 NW Boca Raton Blvd.
Boca Raton, FL 33431
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