plastic fishing gear alien species Cantabrian coast barcoding
Máster Universitario en Biodiversidad Marina y Conservación
Floating devices, such as plastic bottles and fishing gear, are additional hard surfaces able to provide new habitat for several organisms. This process helps species’ spreading process in non-native areas, hazarding the ecosystem dynamics and populations of endemic individuals. Due to the lack of data from the Cantabrian coast about the increasing of alien species occurrence, an exhaustive sampling process was performed along 22 beaches. Bottles and fishing gear found on the shore with attached organisms, were collected per beach. Barcoding techniques were used to identify the specimens to species level. From the 17 identified species, 3 were reportedly invasive. Although there were differences among bottles and fishing gear, cosmopolitan species were the most numerous found organisms. Moreover, in both items, alien specimens were recorded. The principal aim of this exploratory study was to create social awareness about the relationship between marine debris and the enhancement of invasive species spreading.