Global ecological impacts of marine exotic species
byAndrea Anton, Nathan R. Geraldi, Catherine E. Lovelock, Eugenia T. Apostolaki, Scott Bennet, Carlos M. Duarte, et.al
Anton, A., Geraldi, N. R., Lovelock, C. E., Apostolaki, E. T., Bennett, S., Cebrian, J., ... & Duarte, C. M. (2019). Global ecological impacts of marine exotic species. Nature Ecology & Evolution, 3(5), 787-800.
Exotic species are a growing global ecological threat; however, their overall effects are insufficiently understood. While some exotic species are implicated in many species extinctions, others can provide benefits to the recipient communities. Here, we performed a meta-analysis to quantify and synthesize the ecological effects of 76 exotic marine species (about 6% of the listed exotics) on ten variables in marine communities. These species caused an overall significant, but modest in magnitude (as indicated by a mean effect size of g < 0.2), decrease in ecological variables. Marine primary producers and predators were the most disruptive trophic groups of the exotic species. Approximately 10% (that is, 2 out of 19) of the exotic species assessed in at least three independent studies had significant impacts on native species. Separating the innocuous from the disruptive exotic species provides a basis for triage efforts to control the marine exotic species that have the most impact, thereby helping to meet Aichi Biodiversity Target 9 of the Convention on Biological Diversity.