Mediterranean Sea Invaded by Hundreds of Alien Species
Sur, Al Janub, Lebanon. Photo source: Ole Kristian Losvik
Excerpt from, the Department of Marine Ecology at the University of Gothenburg, in ScienceDaily
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.
“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.
Red Chairs, Tel Aviv. Photo source: Neta Gov. The Eastern Mediterranean includes Cyprus, Syria, Lebanon, Palestine, Israel, and Jordan. This region is also known as the Levant or Fertile Crescent. Wikipedia.