Vessel hull-fouling is increasingly recognised as one of the major vectors for the transfer of marine non-indigenous species. For hundreds of years, copper (Cu) has been used as a primary biocide to prevent the establishment of fouling assemblages on ships' hulls. Some non-indigenous fouling taxa continue to be transferred via hull-fouling despite the presence of Cu antifouling biocides. In addition, several of these species appear to enjoy a competitive advantage over similar native taxa within metal-polluted environments. This metal tolerance may further assist their establishment and spread in new habitats. This review synthesises existing research on the links between Cu and the invasion of fouling species, and shows that, with respect to the vector of hull-fouling, tolerance to Cu has the potential to play a role in the transfer of non-indigenous fouling organisms. Also highlighted are the future directions for research into this important nexus between industry, ecology and environmental management.
- copper (Cu)
- non-indigenous species (NIS)