Monitoring the magnitude of marine vessel infestation by non-indigenous ascidians in the Mediterranean

Mey Tal Gewing, Noa Shenkar*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Invasive ascidians (Chordata, Tunicata) are dominant nuisance organisms. The current study investigated the role of marine vessels in their dispersal and introduction. An examination of 45 dry-docked marine vessels, comprising recreational, commercial, and military craft, in five Israeli shipyards along the Mediterranean coast, revealed non-indigenous ascidians (NIA) on every second vessel investigated. Military vessels featured the highest ascidian abundance and richness, potentially related to their maintenance routine. Niche areas on the vessels such as sea chests and the propeller exhibited the highest occurrence of ascidians. Overall, these findings provide strong evidence that marine vessels play an acute role in NIA introduction and dispersal, with military vessels and niche areas on all the vessels being more susceptible to serving as vectors. A discovery of a new introduced species during the surveys suggests that the monitoring of marine vessels can serve as an effective tool for the early detection of NIA.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)52-59
Number of pages8
JournalMarine Pollution Bulletin
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - 2017


  • Fouling
  • Marine bioinvasion
  • Mediterranean Sea
  • Shipyard
  • Suez Canal
  • Tunicate


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