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Data from: Exploring potential establishment of marine rafting species after transoceanic long-distance dispersal

Cite this dataset

Simkanin, Christina et al. (2019). Data from: Exploring potential establishment of marine rafting species after transoceanic long-distance dispersal [Dataset]. Dryad.


Aim On March 11, 2011, the Great East Japan Earthquake triggered a massive tsunami that resulted in the largest known rafting event in recorded history. By spring 2012, marine debris began washing ashore along the Pacific Coast of the U.S. and Canada with a wide-range of Asian coastal species attached. We used this unique dataset, where the source region, date of dislodgment, and landing location are known, to assess the potential for species invasions by transoceanic rafting on marine debris. Location Northeast Pacific from 20 to 60°N Time period Current Major taxa studied Forty-eight invertebrate and algal species recorded on Japanese tsunami marine debris. Methods We developed Maximum Entropy (MaxEnt) species distribution models for 48 species recorded on Japanese tsunami marine debris to predict establishment potential along the Pacific Coast from 20-60°N. Models were compared within the context of historical marine introductions from Japan to this region to validate the emergence of marine debris as a novel vector for species transfer. Results Overall, 27% (13 species) landed with debris at locations with suitable environmental conditions for establishment and survival, indicating that these species may be able to establish new populations or introduce greater genetic diversity to already established non-native populations. A further 22 species have environmental match in areas where tsunami debris likely landed, but was not extensively sampled. Nearly 100 Japanese marine species previously invaded the northeastern Pacific, demonstrating this region's environmental suitability for rafting Japanese biota. Historical invasions from Asia are highest in California and largely known from bays and harbors. Main conclusions Marine debris is a novel and growing vector for non-native species introduction. By utilizing a unique dataset of Japanese tsunami marine debris species, our predictive models show capacity for new transoceanic invasions and can focus monitoring priorities to detect successful long-distance dispersal across the world’s oceans.

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National Science Foundation, Award: NSF-OCE-1266417, 1266234, 12667, and 1266406