Data for: Metal pollution affects both native and non-indigenous biofouling recruitment in a subtropical island system
Hull fouling has been a driving force behind the development of most modern marine antifouling coatings that mainly contain copper based biocides to inhibit growth of fouling organisms. Despite these efforts, several non-indigenous species continue to be transferred via hull-fouling worldwide. In this study we designed a disturbance gradient with three commercial antifouling paints applied to PVC settling plates with different concentrations of copper oxide and allowed colonization of fouling communities in four marinas located at the Madeira Archipelago (NE Atlantic). Overall, the antifouling treatments were effective in decreasing the diversity of fouling communities and spatial variability across marinas was observed. Increasing exposure to metal pollutants decreases both species cover and total diversity, independently of their native or NIS condition. However, evidences found suggest that long-term effects of copper based antifouling coatings can be modulated by metal-resistant species allowing a secondary substrate for the epibiosis of other species to establish.