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With the grant of

Biodiversity and alien species

Ministry of the University and Scientific and Technological Research Ministero dell'Università e della Ricerca

The global character of the phenomenon

The determining factors

Climate change has brought about an increase in the temperature of the surface waters of the Mediterranean Sea. This has facilitated the migration of alien species through the Suez Canal and the success of tropical and sub-tropical alien species. The over-exploitation of autochthonous species and effects of over-fishing. Environmental degradation that nowadays affects many Mediterranean ecosystems. These factors significantly reduce the Mediterranean’s resilience and capacity to withstand the onslaught of these highly competitive alien species

Effetto serra: una delle cause dell’aumento della temperatura della Terra e dei cambiamenti climatici

The problem of the invasion of alien species is of global importance, so much so that it is the subject of numerous international conventions. The new Barcelona Protocol, the CBD, Convention on Biological Diversity, the international organisations such as CITES, the international convention that regulates the trade in endangered species, ICSEM (International Commission for the Scientific Exploration of the Mediterranean Sea), RAC-SPA (Regional Activity Centre for Specially Protected Areas), EPBRS (European Platform on Biodiversity), ERNAIS (European Research Network on Aquatic Invasive Species) and IMO (International Maritime Organisation) all work to varying degrees on the problem of alien species invasions and they recommend a serious commitment for the prevention of such introductions.

Introdution of new species

The “mosaic” of the species that populate the seas is modified over time with new “pieces” added, whose ecological role can vary rarely be predicted. Today, new alien species frequently reach the Mediterranean Sea. Many species, in larval form, as cysts and spores, are regularly transported in ballast waters and as part of the fouling on the hulls of commercial ships.

The ecological importance and the extent of the phenomenon Degrado ambientale: one of the causes of the variation of the ecosystems

Many of the alien species are characteristically hugely adapted to survive in new environments and typically strong competitors such that they displace the indigenous species.

Inquinamento: una delle cause della distruzione degli habitat marini e della estinzione delle specie

75 vegetables

Responsibility and ecological conscience

Man is responsible for these deep modifications in the biodiversity as he has not developed an ecological conscience and a correct use of the sea through a sustainable utilisation of its resources, the elimination of polluting sources, and the remediation of contaminated sites.


Preventing the introduction of allochthonous species requires a strategy that is effective in reducing harm to biodiversity and that needs to be realised by everyone, avoiding the importation and rearing of non native species in aquaria, avoiding the discharge into the sea of effluent from aquaria, removing fouling organisms from hulls and following the recommendations on the discharge of ballast waters.

20 bryozoa

190 mollusca

Realized by

Maritime Admiral Michelagnoli Foundation NGO non-profit Fondazione Marittima Ammiraglio Michelagnoli Onlus - Taranto - Italy

Photo archive "Mare Nostrum" , property of Fondazione Michelagnoli & Giuseppe Pignataro (international champion) English version translated by Dr Adrian Mallia - Adi Associates Environmental Consultants Ltd - Malta

10 ascidiae Number of the alien species found in the Mediterranean

50 cnidaria Sovrasfruttamento: una delle cause dell’impoverimento delle specie marine

110 fishes

60 crustacea 70 polychaeta

In agreement with

National Interuniversity Consortium For Marine Sciences - Italy Co.N.I.S.Ma. - Consorzio Nazionale Interuniversitario di Scienze del Mare

6.Biodiversity and alien species copia  
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