Invasive species

The Mediterranean Sea is especially vulnerable to marine invasions, especially due to an increase in maritime transport, the opening of the Suez Canal, and major development of aquaculture facilities. For instance, about 100 species of algae have recently been introduced into the Mediterranean. Some of the introduced species become invasive. Since these species interfere with native species and modify benthic assemblages, recent studies concluded that they represent one of the main threats to the diversity of Mediterranean benthic coastal ecosystems.

Invasive algae species affect several Mediterranean communities, although the greatest impacts are likely to be on the highly diverse coralligenous assemblages, which are dominated by long-lived algae and sessile animals. The most harmful invasive species that are currently spreading on coralligenous assemblages are probably the filamentous red algae Womersleyella setacea and the green algae Caulerpa racemosa.