Identifying potentially invasive non-native marine and brackish water species for the Arabian Gulf and Sea of Oman

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Invasive non-native species (NNS) are internationally recognized as posing a serious threat to global biodiversity, economies and human health. The identification of invasive NNS is already established, those that may arrive in the future, their vectors and pathways of introduction and spread, and hotspots of invasion are important for a targeted approach to managing introductions and impacts at local, regional and global scales. The aim of this study was to identify which marine and brackish NNS are already present in marine systems of the northeastern Arabia area (Arabian Gulf and Sea of Oman) and of these which ones are potentially invasive, and which species have a high likelihood of being introduced in the future and negatively affect biodiversity. Overall, 136 NNS were identified, of which 56 are already present in the region and a further 80 were identified as likely to arrive in the future, including fish, tunicates, invertebrates, plants and protists. The Aquatic Species Invasiveness Screening Kit (AS-ISK) was used to identify the risk of NNS being (or becoming) invasive within the region. Based on the AS-ISK basic risk assessment (BRA) thresholds, 36 extant and 37 horizon species (53.7% of all species) were identified as high risk. When the impact of climate change on the overall assessment was considered, the combined risk score (BRA+CCA) increased for 38.2% of all species, suggesting higher risk under warmer conditions, including the highest-risk horizon NNS the green crab Carcinus maenas, and the extant macro-alga Hypnea musciformis. This is the first horizon-scanning exercise for NNS in the region, thus providing a vital baseline for future management. The outcome of this study is the prioritization of NNS to inform decision-making for the targeted monitoring and management in the region to prevent new bio-invasions and to control existing species, including their potential for spread.




Clarke, S. A., Vilizzi, L., Lee, L., Wood, L. E., Cowie, W. J., Burt, J. A., … Stebbing, P. D. (2020). Identifying potentially invasive non-native marine and brackish water species for the Arabian Gulf and Sea of Oman. Global Change Biology, 26(4), 2081–2092.

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