Sargassum muticum has been spreading its European invasive range towards the south. The latest record was in 2013 by Brahim Sabour and his colleagues on the Northern Moroccan Atlantic coast along the shoreline of Doukkala (Sabour et al., 2013).
This November, the Portuguese partners from the Seas-Era INVASIVES project headed south for their 2014 last sampling campaign. Two sampling points (Sidi Bouzid and Saahda) in S. muticum southernmost invasive range recorded so far (El Jadida) were visited and samples taken in order to study its associated bacterial community.
Moroccan populations, despite their abundant presence in intertidal rocky pools, are scattered along the Doukkala shoreline with just a few records. Thanks to Brahim Sabour we were able to spot the exact location and easily enrich our sampling in the framework of the INVASIVES project. Even though the S. muticum was small in size by the time we were sampling, specimens can reach around 7 meters long during reproductive stage around April/May (Sabour pers. com). Efforts were also made to spot S. muticum in Essaouira (around 300 Km south of El Jadida) but without success.
Photos and text: Tania Aires
Sabour B, Reani A, Magouri H, Haroun R (2013). Sargassum muticum (Yendo) Fensholt (Fucales, Phaeophyta) in Morocco, an invasive marine species new to the Atlantic coast of Africa. Aquatic Invasions 8(1): 97-102.
Open Access at: http://www.aquaticinvasions.net/2013/AI_2013_1_Sabour_etal.pdf