Publications: Peer-reviewed journal articles (by staff)

A preliminary assessment of biofouling and non-indigenous marine species associated with commercial slow-moving vessels arriving in New Zealand

1 January, 2010
CITATION

Hopkins GA, Forrest BM 2010. A preliminary assessment of biofouling and non-indigenous marine species associated with commercial slow-moving vessels arriving in New Zealand. Biofouling 26: 613-621.

ABSTRACT

Vessel traffic is the primary pathway for non-indigenous marine species introductions to New Zealand, with hull fouling recognised as being an important mechanism. This article describes hull fouling on seven slow-moving commercial vessels sampled over a 1 year period. Sampling involved the collection of images and fouling specimens from different hull locations using a standardised protocol developed to assess vessel biofouling in New Zealand. A total of 29 taxa was identified by expert taxonomists, of which 24% were indigenous to New Zealand and 17% non-indigenous. No first records to New Zealand were reported, however 59% of species were classified as 'unknown' due to insufficient taxonomic resolution. The extent of fouling was low compared to that described for other slow-movers. Fouling cover, biomass and richness were on average 17.1% (SE = 1.8%), 5.2 g (SE = 1.1 g) and 0.8 (SE = 0.07) per photoquadrat (200 x 200 mm), respectively. The fouling extent was lowest on the main hull areas where the antifouling paint was in good condition. In contrast, highest levels of fouling were associated with dry-docking support strips and other niche areas of the hull where the paint condition was poor. Future studies should target vessels from a broader range of bioregions, including vessels that remain idle for extended periods (ie months) between voyages, to increase understanding of the biosecurity risks posed by international commercial slow-movers.