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Invasive alien species in Mediterranean Marine Protected Areas: the Egadi Islands (Italy) case study


Invasive alien species (IAS) are one of the most severe threats to Mediterranean Sea biodiversity. Currently, the effectiveness of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) in providing protection for marine biodiversity from IAS is still not fully understood. Here, we analysed eight Mediterranean MPAs located in a strategic geographic position within the Mediterranean basin. All the analysed MPAs were affected by the presence of IAS - evidence of the vulnerability of MPAs to biological invasion. Valuable habitats such as vermetid reef and coralligenous formations have become victim to numerous alien species. Alien species populations are likely to continue increasing in the Mediterranean Sea, so implementing appropriate and effective policies and management action is urgently required within MPAs for the effective control of biological invasions. A collaboration between researchers, policy makers and citizens is essential in order to ensure management strategies are effective and long-lasting.