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Historical and modern invasions to Port Phillip Bay, Australia: The most invaded southern embayment?

Hewitt, C.L. and Campbell, M.L. (2000) Historical and modern invasions to Port Phillip Bay, Australia: The most invaded southern embayment? In: First National Conference. Marine Bioinvasions, 24 - 27 January, Massachussetts Institute of Technology, Sea Grant College Program, Boston, Massachusetts

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Port Phillip Bay (PPB) is a large (1900km2), temperate embayment in southern Victoria, Australia. Extensive bay-wide surveys of PPB have occurred between 1803 and 1963. In 1995/96 the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) Centre for Research on Introduced Marine Pests (CRIMP) undertook an intensive evaluation of the region with the aims of developing a comprehensive species list of native and introduced fauna and contrasting previous bay-wide assessments with a current field survey in order to detect new incursions and discern alterations to native communities. Two methods were used to meet the aims: a re-evaluation of regional museum collections and published research in PPB to identify and determine the timing of introductions; and field surveys for introduced benthic (infauna, epifauna, and encrusting) organisms conducted by CRIMP between September 1995 and March 1996. The historic component of PPB invasions groups into four periods based on significant shifts in trade activities: exploration/colonization (pre-1839), immigration (1839-1851), Gold Rush (1852-1860), and modern mechanisms (including aquaculture; 1861-present). Invasions within PPB appear to be increasing, possibly due to an increase in modern shipping traffic and an increase in aquaculture (historically associated with incidental introductions); however, the records of extensive biological surveys suggest that this may in part be an artifact of sampling effort. As expected, the majority of introductions are concentrated around the shipping ports of Geelong and Melbourne. Recent incursions into the region include Undaria pinnatifida, Codium fragile ssp. tomentosoides, Asterias amurensis, Schizoporella unicornis, and Pyromaia tuberculata. Port Phillip Bay is presented as one of the most invaded marine ecosystems in the Southern Hemisphere.

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