Back to the future: reflections and directions of South African marine bioinvasion research

ME Alexander, C.A. Simon, C.L. Griffiths, K. Peters, S. Sibanda, S. Miza, B. Groenewald, P. Majiedt, K.J. Sink, T.B. Robinson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


Biological invasions continue to increase around the world, with impacts on many coastal marine systems. Here we review the South African marine invasion literature which, despite the field being relatively new, has grown to have significant presence in both the local and international arenas. Of the 79 papers reviewed, 70% focused on the establishment and spread of alien species, with modes of transport and introduction largely overlooked. An emphasis was also apparent towards field studies, in particular survey work, with few experimental studies. The overwhelming majority of papers focused on a single species, the Mediterranean mussel Mytilus galloprovincialis, reflecting the scale of this invasion and the tractable nature of rocky shores as study systems. With the exception of this one species, the impacts of marine alien species have rarely been quantified. We suggest that future research extends the taxonomic coverage of present work and develops a better understanding of the mechanisms of introduction, establishment and spread of marine alien species. Through an experimental approach, the drivers of altered ecological patterns and processes resulting from invasions should be addressed, providing insight into associated impacts. This approach will maintain the local applicability and international relevance of South African marine invasion research.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)141-144
Number of pages4
JournalAfrican Journal of Marine Science
Issue number1
Early online date13 Apr 2016
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 13 Apr 2016


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