February 1st to 5th 2016
Olhão, Portugal
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Biological Invasions

Scientific Session: Biological Invasions

'Non indigenous marine species: science and management for their control in Europe'

Anna Occchipinti-Ambrogi - University of Pavia

Non-indigenous species are an important agent of ecosystem change: the EU project VECTOR has completed a review of introductions and outbreaks occurring in Europe, in the framework of the main issues regarding the impact of human activities on the natural marine environment. The need for standardizing the criteria used for compiling inventories and data bases and for cross-comparison of different regional situations across Europe has been dealt with and strict scientific rules have been advocated. The Mediterranean Sea is particularly affected, mainly because of the continuous introduction of Erythrean species through the Suez Canal. Besides the Levantine basin (the obvious but not only receptor of Erythrean species), other hotspots of bio-invasion have been described. In the Northern Adriatic Sea, the Lagoon of Venice has been the theatre of dramatic community and ecosystem changes. Examples are provided by the change in algal populations of introduced red and brown algae, that are now dominating on native aquatic plants and the green alga Ulva rigida, or by imported bivalves such as Ruditapes philippinarum, that have affected also sediment dynamics and benthic pelagic coupling. The biological traits of the most widespread species (i.e. 69 species found in more than 10 European countries) have been analyzed in order to find out some common characters, deemed useful to better understand potential threats to marine biodiversity. The objective of the scientific work is to provide a sound basis to management options such as prevention, remediation and adaptation to biological change caused by alien species in the European and international context.