Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Mediterranean Sea invaded by hundreds of alien species

Date:
May 24, 2011
Source:
University of Gothenburg
Summary:
More than 900 new alien species have been encountered in the coastal environments of the eastern Mediterranean Sea in recent decades, including the poisonous pufferfish. The invasion of alien species has had the consequence that the whole food chain is changing, while there is a lack of knowledge on which to base relevant risk assessments, a four-year study shows.

More than 900 new alien species have been encountered in the coastal environments of the eastern Mediterranean Sea in recent decades, including the poisonous pufferfish. The invasion of alien species has had the consequence that the whole food chain is changing, while there is a lack of knowledge on which to base relevant risk assessments, a four-year study conducted at the University of Gothenburg shows.

Related Articles


"The Mediterranean is the world's most invaded sea, but our understanding of how alien species affect ecosystems is inhibited by a lack of basic knowledge of the animal and plant communities on the coast. Once species have become established in the Mediterranean it is almost impossible to eradicate them," says Stefan Kalogirou of the Department of Marine Ecology at the University of Gothenburg.

When the Suez Canal was completed in 1869, a corridor was created for the spread of alien species to the Mediterranean Sea, which is now undergoing great changes in animal and plant communities. In recent years, regular reports of alien species from several of the coastal environments of the eastern Mediterranean have caused concern over what will happen to indigenous species and ecosystems.

Over a period of four years Kalogirou, in cooperation with the Hellenic Centre for Marine Research, has studied the structure and function of fish communities in sea-grass meadows and on sandy bottoms in two important coastal environments on the island of Rhodes in south-eastern Greece. This has provided important insights into invasion biology, that is to say possible ecological consequences of alien species in the food chain.

"The results show a clear ecological impact when alien species either become dominant, like pufferfish, or are piscivores, like barracuda and cornetfish. It is evident that the food chain is being restructured, but the lack of previous studies limited our conclusions."

The poisonous pufferfish is one of the alien species that have recently been introduced. The pufferfish toxin, tetrodotoxin, causes muscle paralysis, which can lead to respiratory arrest. In the worst case the outcome can be fatal. In the coastal environments that Kalogirou has studied, the pufferfish has become a dominant species, which has led to both ecological and social effects.

"There does seem to be an awareness at the European level of how quickly species spread into new areas, but there is a lack of basic knowledge of monitoring methodology, specific life characteristics of alien species and risk assessments. The impact of alien species, known as biological contamination, is something that must be taken into account in environmental impact assessments,"Kaligirou notes.

The thesis Alien Fish Species in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea: Invasion Biology in Coastal Ecosystems was successfully defended.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Gothenburg. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Gothenburg. "Mediterranean Sea invaded by hundreds of alien species." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 24 May 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/05/110523171111.htm>.
University of Gothenburg. (2011, May 24). Mediterranean Sea invaded by hundreds of alien species. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/05/110523171111.htm
University of Gothenburg. "Mediterranean Sea invaded by hundreds of alien species." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/05/110523171111.htm (accessed October 24, 2014).

Share This



More Earth & Climate News

Friday, October 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Dances With Wolves in China's Wild West

Dances With Wolves in China's Wild West

AFP (Oct. 23, 2014) — One man is on a mission to boost the population of wolves in China's violence-wracked far west. The animal - symbol of the Uighur minority there - is under threat with a massive human resettlement program in the region. Duration: 00:41 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
San Diego Zoo's White Rhinos Provide Hope for the Critically Endangered Species

San Diego Zoo's White Rhinos Provide Hope for the Critically Endangered Species

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Oct. 22, 2014) — The pair of rare white northern rhinos bring hope for their species as only six remain in the world. Elly Park reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Trick-or-Treating Banned Because of Polar Bears

Trick-or-Treating Banned Because of Polar Bears

Buzz60 (Oct. 21, 2014) — Mother Nature is pulling a trick on the kids of Arviat, Canada. As Mara Montalbano (@maramontalbano) tells us, the effects of global warming caused the town to ban trick-or-treating this Halloween. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Traditional Farming Methods Gaining Ground in Mali

Traditional Farming Methods Gaining Ground in Mali

AFP (Oct. 20, 2014) — He is leading a one man agricultural revolution in Mali - Oumar Diatabe uses traditional farming methods to get the most out of his land and is teaching others across the country how to do the same. Duration: 01:44 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins