Biodegradation of wood exposed in the marine environment: Evaluation of the hazard posed by marine wood-borers in fifteen European sites


The activity of marine wood-borers causes great destruction in maritime wooden structures. Therefore, the aim of this study was to evaluate the hazard posed by marine wood-borers in fifteen European sites, to assist authorities and researchers concerned with the protection of wood in the sea. In northern Europe, Teredo navalis is the species that poses the highest borer hazard while in the Atlantic coast of southern Europe Lyrodus pedicellatus is the most destructive species, with the exception of two sites in Portugal. In these sites, Limnoria tripunctata was more destructive than L. pedicellatus. In the Mediterranean both T. navalis and L. pedicellatus pose a very high borer hazard to wooden structures. Salinity and temperature emerged as the environmental conditions that best explain the occurrence and abundance of wood boring species in the sites surveyed. Three of the species highlighted in this study are warm water species. Therefore their activity might increase in the future, due to global warming. Considering that wood is still a very valuable material for construction, its use for maritime construction should be favoured. Thus research to improve the durability of wooden materials in the marine environment is of paramount importance.
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