Global warming increased invasiveness of non-native organisms in Adriatic Sea

Global warming threaten the Adriatic Sea

by Lorenzo Ciotti
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Global warming increased invasiveness of non-native organisms in Adriatic Sea
© Wikimedia commons

Climate change is seriously threatening our seas and oceans. the melting of ice and the release of large quantities of fresh water into the oceans is upsetting the planetary water balance, but this is only one of the many problems that the climate crisis is generating for our hydrosphere.

The climate crisis and the resulting global warming also induce migrations of non-native organisms which are seriously harmful to the native organisms and ecosystem. One of the most affected seas is the Adriatic Sea, an internal sea of the Mediterranean Sea which embraces eastern Italy, the Balkan peninsula and part of Greece.

Adriatic Sea© Wikimedia commons

Global warming and the climate crisis threaten the Adriatic Sea

The study: Global warming scenarios for the Eastern Adriatic Sea indicate a higher risk of invasiveness of non-native marine organisms relative to current climate conditions, published on the Marine life science & technology, has published an interesting retrospective, of which we report the abstract.

"Globally, marine bioinvasions threaten marine ecosystem structure and function, with the Mediterranean Sea being one of the most affected regions. Such invasions are expected to increase due to climate change. We conducted a risk screening of marine organisms (37 fishes, 38 invertebrates, and 9 plants), both extant and 'horizon' (i.e., not present in the area but likely to enter it).

Based on expert knowledge for the Eastern Adriatic Sea coasts of Slovenia, Croatia, and Montenegro, screenings were conducted under both current and predicted climate conditions indicating with an increase in sea surface temperature and salinity of the Adriatic Sea together with changes in precipitation regime.

Our aims were to: identify non-native extant and horizon marine species that may pose threats to native biodiversity and evaluate the risk of invasiveness of the selected species under current and predicted climate conditions.

Of the 84 species screened, there was an increase in those ranked as 'high risk' from 33 (39.3%) under current climate conditions and to 47 (56.0%) under global warming scenarios. For those ranked as 'very high' risk, the increase was from 6 (7.1%) to 21 (25.0%).

Amongst the screened species, the already established high-risk species Pacific oyster Magallana gigas and Atlantic blue crab Callinectes sapidus represent a threat to ecosystem services. Given the under-representation of marine species in the current European Union List, the species we have ranked as high to very high risk should be included," explained the researchers.