Anderson, A.B., Pereira da Silva, J., Sorvilo, R., Francini, C.L.B., Floeter, S.R. & Barreiros, J.P. (2020) Population expansion of the invasive Pomacentridae Chromis limbata (Valenciennes, 1833) in Southern Brazilian coast: long-term monitoring, fundamental niche availability and new records.Journal of Fish Biology, 97(2), 362-373. DOI:10.1111/jfb.14365 (IF2020 2,051; Q1 Marine & Freshwater Biology)
Human‐mediated species invasions are recognized as a leading cause of global biotic homogenization and extinction. Studies on colonization events since early stages, establishment of new populations and range extension are scarce because of their rarity, difficult detection and monitoring. Chromis limbata is a reef‐associated and non‐migratory marine fish from the family Pomacentridae found in depths ranging between 3 and 45 m. The original distribution of the species encompassed exclusively the eastern Atlantic, including the Azores, Madeira and the Canary Islands. It is also commonly reported from West Africa between Senegal and Pointe Noire, Congo. In 2008, vagrant individuals of C. limbata were recorded off the east coast of Santa Catarina Island, South Brazil (27° 41′ 44″ S, 48° 27′ 53″ W). This study evaluated the increasing densities of C. limbata populations in Santa Catarina State shoreline. Two recent expansions, northwards to São Paulo State and southwards to Rio Grande do Sul State, are discussed, and a niche model of maximum entropy (MaxEnt) was performed to evaluate suitable C. limbata habitats. Brazilian populations are established and significantly increasing in most sites where the species has been detected. The distributional boundaries predicted by the model are clearly wider than their known range of occurrence, evidencing environmental suitability in both hemispheres from areas where the species still does not occur. Ecological processes such as competition, predation and specially habitat selectivity may regulate their populations and overall distribution range. A long‐term monitoring programme and population genetics studies are necessary for a better understanding of this invasion and its consequences to natural communities.