Hull fouling is thought to have been the vector of introduction for many algal species. We studied ships arriving at a Mediterranean harbour to clarify the present role of commercial cargo shipping in algal introductions. A total of 31 macroalgal taxa were identified from 22 sampled hulls. The majority of records (58%) were of species with a known cosmopolitan geographical distribution. Due to a prevalence of cosmopolitan species and a high turnover of fouling communities, species composition of assemblages did not appear to be influenced by the area of origin, length of ship or age of coating. In the light of the present results, hull fouling on standard trading commercial vessels does not seem to pose a significant risk for new macroalgal species introductions. However, a high proportion of non-cosmopolitan species found on a ship with non-toxic coating may modify this assessment, especially in the light of the increasing use of such coatings and the potential future changes in shipping routes.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Aquatic Science