First Non-native North American Marine/Estuarine Record: 1961
First Non-native East/Gulf Coast Marine/Estuarine Record: 1961
Ecteinascidia turbinata is found in Bermuda, the reefs off the Carolinas, the coast of Florida, the Caribbean, the Gulf of Mexico (Bingham and Young 1987; Calder et al. 1966; Van Name 1945), the Mediterranean, and the tropical East Atlantic (Senegal, Cape Verde Islands) (Monniot and Monniot 1994; Carballo 2000). The genetic similarity of populations on both sides of the Atlantic raises the possibility that populations may have been transported across the Atlantic by ship. However, it is not clear to which side of the Atlantic it is native (Monniot and Monniot 1994; Lopez-Legentil and Turon 2007). Ecteinascidia turbinata was introduced north of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina in 1960 at Wachapreague, Virginia (US National Museum of Natural History 2008) and the York River near Gloucester Point (Calder et al. 1966).
Ecteinascidia turbinata was collected by dredge in the channel at the mouth of the York River, Virginia in August 1966 (Calder et al. 1966) and again in 1967 and 1971 (Calder, in Wass 1972). There have been no more recent reports of this species in Chesapeake Bay proper, however, it was collected in Wachapreague, VA in 1961 (1961, USNM 17042, US National Museum of Natural History 2008) and is established there (Joao Canning-Clode, personal communication). It is also established in Chincoteague Bay (collected in 1996-1998, Prezant et al. 2002). Calder et al. (1966) considered this species to be a probable introduction to the Chesapeake Bay because 'Existing currents are not conducive to the transport of southern species into Chesapeake Bay'. Waters adjacent to the Virginia coast (Virginia Coastal Current) move southward (Ford and Miller 1952) and the Gulf Stream moves northeastward and away from Chesapeake Bay. Because it is known to foul floats and test surfaces in the Florida region (Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution; 1952) it could attach to ships, and may have been introduced into Chesapeake Bay in this fashion (Calder et al. 1966).