AB 13:107-118 (2011)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/ab00357

Invading the Adriatic: spatial patterns of marine alien species across the Ionian–Adriatic boundary

Stelios Katsanevakis1,*, Argyro Zenetos1, Vesna Mačić2, Sajmir Beqiraj3, Dimitrios Poursanidis4,5, Lefter Kashta6

1Institute of Marine Biological Resources, Hellenic Centre for Marine Research, Anavyssos 19013, Greece
2Institute of Marine Biology, Kotor, Montenegro
3Biology Department, Faculty of Natural Sciences, University of Tirana, Bulevardi Zog I, Tirana, Albania
4WWF Hellas, Knossos, Heraklion, Crete, Greece
5Department of Marine Sciences, University of the Aegean, Mytilene 81100, Greece
6Research Center for Flora and Fauna, Faculty of Natural Sciences, University of Tirana, Bulevardi Zog I, Tirana, Albania

ABSTRACT: An important pathway of introduction of alien marine species in the Adriatic seems to be the northward expansion of species already established in the Ionian Sea, aided by the East Adriatic Current. We modelled the occupancy of alien marine species in the upper infralittoral zone of rocky bottoms across the Ionian–Adriatic border (Albanian and Montenegrin coastlines), based on underwater visual survey data. A method that took into account imperfect detection of the target species was applied to make unbiased occupancy estimations, based on a multi-model inference approach. A total of 6 alien species were found during the survey (in decreasing order of occupancy): Caulerpa racemosa, Percnon gibbesi, Ganonema farinosum, Lophocladia lallemandii, Asparagopsis taxiformis and Pinctada radiata. There was a general pattern of declining occupancy from northern Ionian Albanian coastal waters towards the southeastern Adriatic coastline. Possible reasons for this pattern are: (1) the invasion of some species from the northern Ionian Sea is still in progress and the limit of the current distributional range falls within or near the study area; (2) the lower temperatures in the Adriatic Sea restrict the northward expansion of thermophilic alien species; and (3) the part of Albania north of the Otranto Strait is characterized by sandy/muddy coasts, large estuarine areas and substantial freshwater input, creating a barrier for expansion of sessile species. There is a pool of 77 species established in the central Mediterranean but not yet observed in the Adriatic Sea. Among these, 14 species are present in the Greek Ionian Sea and may be considered as the most probable newcomers to the Adriatic Sea in the near future.


KEY WORDS: Alien · Biological invasion · Occupancy · Detectability · Adriatic Sea · Ionian Sea · ­Albania · Montenegro


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Cite this article as: Katsanevakis S, Zenetos A, Mačić V, Beqiraj S, Poursanidis D, Kashta L (2011) Invading the Adriatic: spatial patterns of marine alien species across the Ionian–Adriatic boundary. Aquat Biol 13:107-118. https://doi.org/10.3354/ab00357

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