The species is recognised as invasive throughout Europe and the NW Atlantic. The presence of M. membranacea colonies on kelp reduces the algae’s survival, and can exacerbate the natural seasonal declines of kelp beds in autumn. Colonised kelp tends to become brittle and may be more prone to breakage during periods of intense wave action. Defloliation of kelp beds by M. membranacea facilitates the introduction and establishment of opportunistic green algae and hence alters the habitat of ecologically and economically important species such as sea urchins and lobsters.
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