The special issue includes papers that were presented at the 10th International Conference on Marine Bioinvasions held in Argentina in October 2018.
A contribution by INVASIVESNET member Amy Fowler:
In a world deeply concerned by the spread of pandemic infectious organisms, our capacity to understand the ecology and evolution of invasive species, their spread routes and colonization strategies, and how to prevent and manage their spread is more critical than ever. Continued and novel collaborations among international scientists and agencies is of utmost importance and should continue to be a focal point of growth in the field. The ICMB conference, chaired by Dr. Evan Schwindt and Dr. Ale Bortolus, was an excellent platform to exchange scientific ideas, reconnect with old friends and colleagues and forge new collaborations.
Invasive species do not recognize international borders and scientists need to work together across international and national networks to monitor species invasions. 100 new introduced and 43 new cryptogenic marine species were added to a list of introduced marine species in the southern Southwest Atlantic Ocean. Another 138 marine non-indigenous species were documented along the 8,000km coastline of Brazil.
Management measures are needed to stop species introductions via biofouling and ballast water. The compound ascidian Symplegma brakenhielmi has been introduced in the Mediterranean Sea via shipping. Beaching and manually cleaning a 35 m catamaran effectively removed 12.5 m3 of hull fouling consisting of 53 taxa (including 18 exotic species). Another method for reducing hull fouling is wrapping the hull in plastic (encapsulating) which kills all biota within three days in the lab and between three and four days in the field.
The interactions of introduced organisms with novel environments and communities was a central theme of ICMB. The growth of a Brazilian native zoantharian depended on which invasive species of sun coral it was competing against. Also in Brazil, commercially important mussels were 19–36% smaller in size and weighed 60% less when they were fouled by invasive species. Invasive fouling species can also interact with one another and the outcomes of those interactions fluctuate seasonally and depend on predation pressure. In Argentina, invasive green crabs were consumed regularly by native kelp gulls and likely supplemented the birds’ diets during reproduction.
Parasites are an often over-looked group of marine taxa with vital ecological roles. 78% of invasive round gobies in the northeast Baltic Sea were parasitized with a total of 24 native parasites from five different taxonomic groups. Comparisons between native and invasive populations of European green crabs and their trematode parasites revealed how time-since-introduction plays a role in the susceptibility of novel hosts to native parasites.
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