New Database Shows Extent of Threat to Marine Environment from Non-Native Invasive Species

New research published in Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment reveals the extent of the threat posted to the marine environment from non-native invasive species.

Researchers created a database of invasive species worldwide, examining 329 non- native invasive species and scoring each on a 1-4 scale, on the basis of their ecological impact, geographical extent, invasive potential and management difficulty. The database allows the identification of global patterns. The researchers conclude that interception and removal of the routes used for colonisation by the invasive species is the most effective strategy for reducing their future impacts.

This presents a real challenge however, given the range of routes by which species can colonise: shipping was found to be the most common, through transportation in ballast water or through hull-fouling.

The database could be used to inform conservation policy decisions and, through allowing a comparison between invasive species in similar habitats, can allow prediction of species likely to become invasive in a particular area.

The global map produced as a result of the study shows that the Mediterranean and North Seas are the marine areas most affected by non-native invasive species.

Access the database of Invasive Species (contributions to the database are welcome)

Link to POSTnote on Non-Native Invasive Species: produced April 2008 by the BES POST Fellow, Fay Collier. Find out more about the BES POST Fellowship