Biological Invasions

, Volume 11, Issue 2, pp 359–372 | Cite as

Taking stock: inventory of alien species in the Mediterranean sea

  • B. S. Galil
Original Paper


573 alien marine metazoan species have been recorded in the Mediterranean Sea. The present checklist is the first to present the species’ native range, presumed mode of introduction, spatial extent, and the date of the first record in each country. The majority of aliens are thermophilic species originating from the Indo-Pacific or Indian Oceans, which have entered the Mediterranean through the Suez Canal. However, the means of introduction differ greatly among the phyla, and the basins of the Mediterranean. The temporal records of the alien species reflect political crises, economic development and scientific interest in studying the phenomenon—in the past two decades on average about 10 alien species new to the Mediterranean are recorded annually. Many have established durable populations and extended their range: 125 alien species have been recorded from four or more countries. The possible impacts of regulatory instruments and environmental management options are examined.


Alien species Mediterranean Sea Inventory Trends Global warming Management 



I am grateful to my colleagues, C. Bogi, M. Çinar, J. Corbera, R. Huys, H. Mienis, F. Mineur, A. Occhipinti-Ambrogi, P. Schembri, M. Verlaque and B. Yokes, for generously sharing with me information on alien species. L. Shoval, provided much needed help with the database. Special thanks to the librarians of the American Museum of Natural History, New York, and Israel Oceanographic & Limnological Research, Haifa. T. Schuh, AMNH, hosted me with the greatest kindness. This review was supported by the European Commission’s 6th Framework Programme DAISIE (contract SSPI-CT-2003-511202).

Supplementary material

Table 1. List of alien species in the Mediterranean Sea, their native range, presumed means of introduction, and the date of collection (or publication) of the first record in each country. Eg. Egypt, Isr. Israel, Lb/Sy. Lebanon and Syria, Cy. Cyprus, Tr. Turkey, Gr. Greece, EAdr. Eastern Adriatic countries, It. Italy, Fr. France, Sp. Spain, Mr/Al. Morocco and Algeria, TML. Tunisia, Malta and Libya.

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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.National Institute of Oceanography, Israel Oceanographic & Limnological ResearchHaifaIsrael

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