Thursday, May 26, 2011

Invasive species occupying Mediterranean Sea

According to scientists the Mediterranean is the world's sea most invaded by invasive species. The latest study by the University of Gothenburg reports that in the last three decades there have been 900 new alien species making way in the coastal environments of the eastern Mediterranean Sea.

The invasive species are big threat to native species, they compete with native species for food and habitat which in the end often results in big changes in food chain and the decline (sometimes even extinction) of many indigenous animal species.

The main reason why Mediterranean Sea has become a favorite destination for so many invasive species has been the opening of the Suez Canal. As in many other corners of the world, increased ship traffic means increased number of invasive species.

The environmentalists are rightfully worried about what will happen to native ecosystems because once invasive species become dominant there will be no way back for native plants and animals, and many of them could forever disappear from their former habitats.

One of the most talked about invasive species in Mediterranean Sea is the poisonous pufferfish. This fish is dangerous because of the powerful toxin called tetrodotoxin which causes muscle paralysis and can lead to respiratory arrest, and even death. According to scientists the poisonous pufferfish has already become a dominant species in eastern Mediterranean Sea.

In order to fully describe the impact of certain invasive species scientists do not only need better monitoring methodologies but also knowledge about specific life characteristics of alien species and risk assessments. This of course requires big funds which are anything but easy to obtain because there doesn't seem to be enough interest at the international level to stop the spreading of invasive species.

The invasive species issue has much bigger weight than many world leaders think it has as it worsens already huge biodiversity loss, and creates not only huge environmental but also huge economic damage.

No comments:

Post a Comment