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Common name
Halophila seagrass (English)
Synonym
Zostera stipulacea , (Forssk�l, 1775)
Similar species
Summary
Halophila stipulacea is a seagrass which has been introduced to the Mediterranean and more recently the Caribbean most likely through fragments transported by commercial and recreational shipping. Studies suggest that H. stipulacea is capable of displacing native seagrasses and associated communities and while yet to be confirmed, the potential threat to biodiversity posed by this rapidly spreading plant is serious H. stipulacea is included in the \"100 Worst Invasive Alien Species in the Mediterranean\".
Species Description
Halophila stipulacea is a euryhaline marine angiosperm, also known as a seagrass. Plants are dioecious with male and female flowers produced at each leaf node. Rhizomes are creeping, branched and fleshy, and roots appear solitary at each node of the rhizome, unbranched and thick with dense soft root hairs. Pairs of leaves are distributed on petioles along a rhizome, rooted in the sand. Petioles are 3 - 15 mm long while leaves are 3 - 8 mm wide and obovate, hairy and not narrowing at base; margin spinulose (Galil, 2006).

H. stipulacea displays high morphological and genetic variability to differing enviornmental and ecological factors (Procaccini et al., 1999). Stands at comparable depths from different localities were found to be genetically more similar (Procaccini et al., 1999).
Two unidentified photosynthetic pigments with the same retention time as two “siphonaxanthin-type\" pigments were isolated and relatively common in H. stipulacea. This could perhaps be a biochemical adaptation to different light regimes in seagrass species that can colonise deeper habitats (Casazza & Mazzella, 2002).

Habitat Description
In its native range, Halophila stipulacea occupies soft marine sublittoral sediments, growing in sheltered localities as isolated patches, on muddy bottom and coral rubble (Galil, 2006). In its introduced range, H. stipulacea also occupies marine sublittoral sediments intertidal to 65 m, but mainly at a depth of 30 - 45 m, usually in or in the vicinity of harbours (Galil, 2006).
Reproduction
Halophila stipulacea is dioecious with male and female flowers produced at each leaf node (Galil, 2006). These flowers of are solitary, with the axillary covered by spathes (Galil, 2006). Strings of four reniform trinucleate pollen grains contained in a mucilaginous moniliform tube are dispersed (Galil, 2006). In India, female flowers and fruits are noticed from February to April while in the Mediterranean, the main flowering season occurs in July-August, with fruits ripening in September (Galil, 2006). Experimental studies demonstrated that full sunlight completely inhibited seedling growth at a depth of 30 cm which may explain the absence of H. stipulacea from the uppermost part of the subtidal zone (depths of 0–2 m) (Malm, 2006). It is suggested that, as only male flowers are usually found in the Mediterranean area (Procaccini et al., 1999), it may be difficult for female flowers to develop in the Mediterranean climate (Gambia et al., 2009). This implies that main propagation of the species is by fragmentation and vegetative stolonization (Gambia et al., 2009).
Pathway
Halophila stipulacea is dispersed to new locations via current or vessel-borne plant fragments or fruits (Galil, 2006).

Principal source:

Compiler: IUCN SSC Invasive Species Specialist Group (ISSG) with support from the Overseas Territories Environmental Programme (OTEP) project XOT603, a joint project with the Cayman Islands Government - Department of Environment

Review: Under expert review

Publication date: 2010-06-02

Recommended citation: Global Invasive Species Database (2019) Species profile: Halophila stipulacea. Downloaded from http://www.iucngisd.org/gisd/species.php?sc=1583 on 23-09-2019.

General Impacts
Halophila stipulacea is capable of out-competing native Mediterranean seagrasses while inducing changes in the composition of sublittoral communities (Galil, 2006). Tsiamis et al. (2010) state that while the high abundances of H. stipulacea observed may indicate invasive behaviour, no reports of native species displacement have yet been made. Williams (2007) states that no ecological consequences of the introduction and spreading of H. stipulacea have been reported, as H. stipulacea might be small enough to co-exist under the canopy of the larger native seagrasses.
Management Info
Halophila stipulacea is included in the \"100 Worst Invasive Alien Species in the Mediterranean\" list due to its potential to cause serious negative impacts on biodiversity (Streftaris & Zenetos, 2006). Halophila stipulacea is also included in the '100 of the worst aliens species in Europe' list (see Delivering Alien Invasive Species Inventories for Europe (DAISIE))

Preventative measures: The erection of a salinity barrier in the Suez Canal was mentioned in Galil (2006) to reduce the number of alien species such as Halophila stipulacea from entering the Mediterranean Sea.

Countries (or multi-country features) with distribution records for Halophila stipulacea
NATIVE RANGE
  • coast of east africa
  • india
  • indian - ocean western
Informations on Halophila stipulacea has been recorded for the following locations. Click on the name for additional informations.
Lorem Ipsum
Location Status Invasiveness Occurrence Source
Details of Halophila stipulacea in information
Status
Invasiveness
Arrival date
Occurrence
Source
Introduction
Species notes for this location
Location note
Management notes for this location
Impact
Mechanism:
Outcome:
Ecosystem services:
Impact information
Halophila stipulacea is capable of out-competing native Mediterranean seagrasses while inducing changes in the composition of sublittoral communities (Galil, 2006). Tsiamis et al. (2010) state that while the high abundances of H. stipulacea observed may indicate invasive behaviour, no reports of native species displacement have yet been made. Williams (2007) states that no ecological consequences of the introduction and spreading of H. stipulacea have been reported, as H. stipulacea might be small enough to co-exist under the canopy of the larger native seagrasses.
Red List assessed species 0:
Locations
DOMINICA
GRENADA
Mediterranean & Black Sea
Mechanism
[3] Competition
Outcomes
[4] Environmental Ecosystem - Habitat
  • [3] Reduction in native biodiversity
  • [1] Modification of successional patterns
Management information
Halophila stipulacea is included in the \"100 Worst Invasive Alien Species in the Mediterranean\" list due to its potential to cause serious negative impacts on biodiversity (Streftaris & Zenetos, 2006). Halophila stipulacea is also included in the '100 of the worst aliens species in Europe' list (see Delivering Alien Invasive Species Inventories for Europe (DAISIE))

Preventative measures: The erection of a salinity barrier in the Suez Canal was mentioned in Galil (2006) to reduce the number of alien species such as Halophila stipulacea from entering the Mediterranean Sea.

Bibliography
31 references found for Halophila stipulacea

Managment information
IUCN/SSC Invasive Species Specialist Group (ISSG)., 2010. A Compilation of Information Sources for Conservation Managers.
Summary: This compilation of information sources can be sorted on keywords for example: Baits & Lures, Non Target Species, Eradication, Monitoring, Risk Assessment, Weeds, Herbicides etc. This compilation is at present in Excel format, this will be web-enabled as a searchable database shortly. This version of the database has been developed by the IUCN SSC ISSG as part of an Overseas Territories Environmental Programme funded project XOT603 in partnership with the Cayman Islands Government - Department of Environment. The compilation is a work under progress, the ISSG will manage, maintain and enhance the database with current and newly published information, reports, journal articles etc.
General information
Akcali, Baris and S�kran Cirik, 2007. Alien and Invasive Seaweeds Distribution along the Turkish Coast of the Aegean Sea. Rapp. Comm. int. Mer M�dit., 38, 2007.
Summary: Available from: http://www.ciesm.org/online/archives/abstracts/PDF/38/PG_00412.pdf [Accessed May 20 2010]
Alpinar K., 1987. A New Record for Turkish Flora Halophila stipulacea. Istanbul Universitesi Eczacilik Fakultesi Mecmuasi. 23 1987. 83-84.
Summary: Halophila stipulacea (Forsskal) Ascherson (Hydrocharitaceae) is added to the flora of Turkey with a specimen collected at Cl MUGLA: Ortakent, Yali, on the seashore.
Boudouresque, Charles Francois; Verlaque, Marc, 2002. Biological pollution in the Mediterranean Sea: Invasive versus introduced macrophytes. Marine Pollution Bulletin. 44(1). January, 2002. 32-38.
Casazza, Gianna ; Mazzella, Lucia, 2002. Photosynthetic pigment composition of marine angiosperms: Preliminary characterization of Mediterranean seagrasses. Bulletin of Marine Science. 71(3). November 2002. 1171-1181.
Coppejans, E., Beeckman, H., & De Wit, M. (1990). The seagrass and associated macroalgal vegetation of Gazi Bay (Kenya). Hydrobiologia, 247, 59-75.
Delivering Alien Invasive Species Inventories for Europe (DAISIE), 2006. Fact sheet Halophila stipulacea
Summary: Available from: http://www.europe-aliens.org/speciesFactsheet.do?speciesId=1121 [Accessed May 20 2010]
Della, Athena and G. Iatrou, 1995. New Plant Records from Cyprus. Kew Bulletin, Vol. 50, No. 2 (1995), pp. 387-396
Di Martino, V.; Blundo, M. C.; Tita, G., 2006. Temporal variations of the associated algal assemblage. Vie et Milieu. 56(3). SEP 2006. 223-230.
Galil, B. S., 2006. Halophila stipulacea. Delivering Alien Invasive Species Inventories for Europe (DAISIE)
Summary: Available from: http://www.europe-aliens.org/pdf/Halophila_stipulacea.pdf [Accessed May 20 2010]
Gambia, Maria Cristina; Fabio Barbieria and Carlo Nike Bianchia, 2009. New record of the alien seagrass Halophila stipulacea (Hydrocharitaceae) in the western Mediterranean: a further clue to changing Mediterranean Sea biogeography. Marine Biodiversity Records (2009), 2:e84
Guiry, M.D. 2009. Halophila stipulacea (Forssk�l) Ascherson. Accessed through the World Register of Marine Species
Summary: Available from: http://www.marinespecies.org/aphia.php?p=taxdetails&id=145714 [Accessed May 20 2010]
Katsanevakis, S; Tsiamis, K., 2009. Records of alien marine species in the shallow coastal waters of Chios Island (2009) Mediterranean Marine Science. 10(2). DEC 2009. 99-107.
Lipkin, Y., 1975. Halophila stipulacea, a review of a successful immigration. Aquatic Botany Volume 1, 1975, Pages 203-215
Malm, Torleif, 2006. Reproduction and recruitment of the seagrass Halophila stipulacea. Aquatic Botany. 85(4). NOV 2006. 347-351.
Milchakova, N. A.; Phillips, R. C.; Ryabogina, V. G., 2005. New data on the locations of seagrass species in the Indian Ocean. Atoll Research Bulletin.(531-42). NOV 2005. 177,179-187.
Summary: Available from: http://www.sil.si.edu/digitalcollections/atollresearchbulletin/issues/00537.pdf [Accessed May 20 2010]
Mollo, Ernesto; Gavagnin, Margherita; Carbone, Marianna; Castelluccio, Francesco; Pozone, Ferdinando; Roussis, Vassilios; Templado, Jose; Ghiselin, Michael T.; Cimino, Guido, 2008. Factors promoting marine invasions: A chemolecological approach. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 105(12). MAR 25 2008. 4582-4586.
Procaccini, G.; Acunto, S.; Fama, P.; Maltagliati, F., 1999. Structural, morphological and genetic variability in Halophila stipulacea (Hydrocharitaceae) populations in the western Mediterranean. Marine Biology (Berlin). 135(1). Oct., 1999. 181-189.
Ruggiero, Maria Valeria; Procaccini, Gabriele, 2004. The rDNA ITS region in the Lessepsian marine angiosperm Halophila stipulacea (Forssk.) Aschers. (Hydrocharitaceae): Intragenomic variability and putative pseudogenic sequences. Journal of Molecular Evolution. 58(1). January 2004. 115-121.
Ruiz, Hector; Ballantine, David L., 2004. Occurrence of the seagrass Halophila stipulacea in the tropical west Atlantic. Bulletin of Marine Science. 75(1). July 2004. 131-135.
Schembri, Patrick, J and Edwin Lanfranco, 1996. Introduced species in the Maltese Islands In Baldacchino, A. E and Pizutto A. (eds) Introduction of Alien Species of flora and fauna. [Proceedings of aseminar held at Qawra, Malta 5th March 1996. Pg 29-54 Floriana Malta: Environment Protection Department; 77pp
Schembri, P.J. 1995. Threatened habitats as a criterion fro selecting coastal protected areas in the Maltese Islands. Rapport du Congres de la Commission Internationale pour l Exploration Scientifique de lar Mer Mediteranee, 34, 128.
Streftaris, N and A. Zenetos, 2006. Alien Marine Species in the Mediterranean - the 100 �Worst Invasives� and their Impact. Mediterranean Marine Science Volume 7/1, 2006, 87-118
Summary: Available from: http://www.sesame-ip.eu/doc/Streftaris_and_Zenetos_2006_100_Worst_Invasive_species_in_Mediterranean.pdf [Accessed May 20 2010]
Tsiamis, K., B. Montesanto, P. Panyotidis, C. Katsaros and M. Verlaque, 2010. Updated records and range expansion of alien marine macrophytes in Greece (2009) Mediterranean Marine Science., 11/1, 2010, xx-xx
Summary: Available from: http://www.medit-mar-sc.net/files/201002/24-120920Medit.Mar.Sci.v11n1_2010_xx-xxTSIAMIS_364.pdf [Accessed May 20 2010]
Tsirika, Anastasia; Haritonidis, Savvas, 2005. A survey of the benthic flora in the National Marine Park of Zakynthos (Greece) Botanica Marina. 48(1). 05. 38-45.
Van Der Velde, G & Den Hartog C., 1992. Continuing Range Extension of Halophila stipulacea Forskk. Aschers Hydrocharitaceae in the Mediterranean now found at Kefallinia and Ithaki Ionian Sea. Acta Botanica Neerlandica. 41(3). 1992. 345-348.
Willette, Demian A.; Ambrose, Richard F., 2009. The distribution and expansion of the invasive seagrass Halophila stipulacea in Dominica, West Indies, with a preliminary report from St. Lucia. Aquatic Botany. 91(3). OCT 2009. 137-142.
Williams, Susan L., 2007. Introduced species in seagrass ecosystems: Status and concerns. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 350 (2007) 89�110
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