Dataset: The role of copper in facilitating the invasion of sessile marine invertebrate communities by pests: effects of copper pulse frequency in developing assemblages


Disturbance events are thought to provide an opportunity for the colonisation and establishment of invasive species. Contamination of coastal waters with copper from sewage outfall and antifouling paints may create a disturbance that favours the establishment of introduced sessile invertebrates. This study examines if the frequency of experimentally applied doses of copper sulfate increases the abundance of introduced sessile invertebrate species within developing (2-weeks old) and established (9-months old) assemblages. Responses to regular and irregularly applied doses of copper were also tested in developing assemblages.

This dataset gives the effects of copper pulse frequency on the number of native and introduced taxa within developing (2-weeks old) sessile invertebrate assemblages. Studies were carried out over 16 weeks between October 2004 and January 2005 at two sites in Port Phillip Bay, Victoria; Workshops Jetty, Williamstown and Point Henry Pier. Workshops Jetty is reported to have higher abundances of sessile invertebrates and is more polluted than Point Henry Pier, providing a comparison between sites with different community assemblages and environment conditions. At Workshops Jetty, four treatments were tested: an undosed control, or copper pulses applied every 4, 3 or 2 weeks. At Point Henry, the same treatments were applied, except for the copper pulse application every 3 weeks. Overall, this study found no evidence to support the hypothesis that disturbance facilitates invasions by introduced species. Disturbance had no effect on the proportion of introduced species and there were no clear differences in the responses on introduced and native species. Whether a species benefited from a disturbance appeared to depend more on its life history characteristics, rather than its point of origin.

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