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Schwindt E.,Grupo de Ecologia en Ambientes Costeros GEAC | Schwindt E.,CONICET | Lopez Gappa J.,CONICET | Raffo M.P.,Grupo de Ecologia en Ambientes Costeros GEAC | And 18 more authors.
Marine Environmental Research | Year: 2014

Ports are a key factor in the understanding and solving of most problems associated with marine invasive species across regional and global scales. Yet many regions with active ports remain understudied. The aim of this work was to (a) identify and quantify the marine fouling organisms in all Patagonian ports of Argentina classifying them as native, exotic or cryptogenic species through a rapid assessment survey and experimental studies, (b) survey the environmental and anthropogenic variables of these ports and (c) analyze and discuss these results in the light of the South America context for the study of marine invasive species, legislation and commerce. We found 247 fouling species, including 17 introduced, one of which is a new record for the region, and other 15 species currently considered cryptogenic species that will need further attention to clarify their status. The analysis of mobile and sessile taxa, together with the environmental variables measured in this study and the port movement, allow us to discuss individual ports' vulnerability to future introductions. This is the first large scale study performed for this region on this topic, and it will help in developing monitoring programs and early detection plans to minimize new species introductions along the marine coastline of southern South America. © 2014 Elsevier Ltd.

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