About this Research Topic
The introduction of non-native species through a wide range of human-induced pathways (fisheries, fish stocking, aquaculture, sport fishing, ornamental and aquarium fish trade, opening new inter-sea channels) has been considered as the main driver of biodiversity loss and homogenization. The current extent, frequency and the rate of introduction of invasive species have dramatically increased in recent years due to the higher mobilization and expanding demands in world-wide trade activities. While the spread of a species beyond its native range could be a natural process, increased intensity of human intervention in exploiting new ecosystems along with the effects of global climate change has long been thought to cause the increasing frequency of global invasions and range expansions of non-native species. The exploitation of aquatic ecosystems has resulted in a high number of accidental introductions often causing irreversible ecological and economic damage.
It is a generally disregarded fact that not all non-native species are a threat to native ecosystems. However, we should note those that become invasive. The term ‘invasive’ has been described in various ways but should refer to the non-native species that have proven to cause detrimental impacts on biodiversity and ecosystem services. To understand whether a non-native species exhibits invasive characteristics, greater amounts of detailed information on its specific impacts through field and experimental studies are needed. This is even more demanding for some invasive aquatic species that should be assessed on multiple scales. The other species in the invaded environment, regardless of being native or non-native, are also expected to play a key role on the magnitude of the impacts of a new invader. Hence, standardized methods to assess impacts are rather hard to be developed as data on specific effects of invasive species are barely available and the nature of these impacts is variable. Furthermore, knowledge on species-specific impacts is lacking or just anecdotal in many cases.
Impacts of invasive species have not been studied in depth, however, they should be addressed in order to prevent negative effects of invasive species on native environments, the establishment of further species, as well as to develop proper management options against invasive species. It is even more crucial to demonstrate the impacts of non-native species that have not been studied before, in order to assess their potential interactions with other species and disruptions on their host environment.
The overall objective of this Research Topic is to understand biotic and abiotic factors that determine non-native species’ establishment and expansion success and to quantify the impact of invasive species on host ecosystems.
Sub-topics could include:
This list is not exhaustive and we welcome inquiries of possible submissions. A key aim of this collection is to maximize the use of the proposed methods/techniques by the scientific community and environmental stakeholders. Please note that purely descriptive papers such as reporting basic biological/ecological features or distribution of invasive species, or new species introductions and range expansions without any methodological improvement or detection of problems in the method are not within the scope of this Research Topic.
Keywords: Biological invasions, Non-native species, Invasive species, Impact assessment, Interactions
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