Invasive species have played a major role in biodiversity loss with important economic impacts. Introduced species are capable of profoundly altering host ecosystems by changing ecosystem structure and functioning. Asparagopsis armata is widely distributed in Europe where it is considered invasive. With almost no predators and fast growth rates it is well adapted to the algal communities of the Azores.
The proposed project focuses on the community-level effects and adaptations of the invasive alga Asparagopsis armata in the local communities. The proposed project will: (i) compare the current structure of macroalgal communities to that of 20 years, (ii) examine the role of herbivory in mediating the establishment of A. armata, (iii) assess the community- level impact of A. armata and compare it to the conspecific A. taxiformis, and (iv) assess the growth and survival rates of A. armata at different temperatures as predicted by global change.