Publications: Peer-reviewed journal articles (by staff)

Potential biocontrol agents for biofouling on artificial structures

1 September, 2014

Atalah J, Newcombe EM, Hopkins GA, Forrest BM 2014. Potential biocontrol agents for biofouling on artificial structures. Biofouling Sep 2014: 30(8):999-1010.


The accumulation of biofouling on coastal structures can lead to operational impacts and may harbour problematic organisms, including non-indigenous species. Benthic predators and grazers that can supress biofouling, and which are able to be artificially enhanced, have potential value as augmentative biocontrol agents. The ability of New Zealand native invertebrates to control biofouling on marina pontoons and wharf piles was tested. Caging experiments evaluated the ability of biocontrol to mitigate established biofouling, and to prevent fouling accumulation on defouled surfaces. On pontoons, the gastropods Haliotis iris and Cookia sulcata reduced established biofouling cover by >55% and largely prevented the accumulation of new biofouling over three months.

On wharf piles C. sulcata removed 65% of biofouling biomass and reduced its cover by 73%. C. sulcata also had better retention and survival rates than other agents. Augmentative biocontrol has the potential to be an effective method to mitigate biofouling on marine structures.