4. Invasive Species in the Ocean


What do these species have in common?

chinese mitten crab
giant hogweed
The chinese mitten crab in the River Thames in London The Giant Hogweed from Asia in Europe
pacific oysters
Seaweed, native to the Caribbean and the Indian and Pacific Oceans, in the Mediterranean Sea The Pacific Oyster in the Northern Sea


All animals and plants live in specific environments which have distinct physical, chemical and biological characteristics. If species are removed from their native environment and brought to a different ecoregion they may adapt to the new climate and surroundings and evolve. Being aliens in their new home they may change and affect the local or regional ecosystem with lasting effects.

This chapter is about invasive species in the ocean.
On the following pages you may learn …

  • how animals and plants can become aliens,

  • how alien species can become invasive and threaten biodiversity,

  • what the role of climate change is in the global spread of species,

  • what can be done to reduce the problem, and

  • about the relevance of remote sensing in controling the spread of marine invasive species.