Meta-analysis on the ecological impacts of widely spread non-indigenous species in the Baltic Sea.

Ojaveer, Henn, Kotta, Jonne, Outinen, Okko, Einberg, Heli, Zaiko, Anastasija and Lehtiniemi, Maiju (2021) Meta-analysis on the ecological impacts of widely spread non-indigenous species in the Baltic Sea. Science of the Total Environment, 786 . Art.Nr. 147375. DOI 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2021.147375.

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Supplementary data:


• Effects of widespread NIS on ecosystem features and properties were quantified.
• Most impactful NIS, processes underlying the changes and sources of uncertainty were identified.
• Among communities, fish have been impacted the most while the pelagic realm is more affected than the benthic.
• Significant effects were evident on the entire food web.
• The effect size method offers a robust approach for general applications on quantification of the effects of NIS.

The introduction of non-indigenous species (NIS) is a major driver for global change in species biogeography, often associated with significant consequences for recipient ecosystems and services they provide for humans. Despite mandated by several high-level international legislative instruments, comprehensive quantitative evaluation on ecosystem impacts of marine NIS is scarce and lack a robust and data-driven assessment framework. The current study is aiming at fulfilling this gap, through quantitative assessment on the effects of the widespread NIS of the Baltic Sea on multiple ecosystem features and components including direct food-web effects. The outcomes of this study allowed identifying the most impacting widespread NIS, together with defining the processes underlying the most significant changes and outlined major sources of uncertainty. Lack and/or bias in the availability of evidence of impacts was recorded for several (both recent and early) introductions. Realizing a sophisticated, data and information-hungry framework for the evaluation of ecosystem impacts of NIS is not pragmatic for management purposes in the foreseeable future. Instead, simple approaches, such as application of common statistical parameters like absolute effect size, are more likely to result in tangible outcomes. As bearing no unit, effect sizes can be later easily aggregated across taxa, affected ecosystem features or spatial scales. The proposed approach enables performing systematic comparisons on the severity of impacts of different NIS along different study disciplines and ecosystems.

Document Type: Article
Keywords: Meta-analysis; Widespread non-indigenous species; Baltic Sea; Effect size; Biological properties; Trophic guilds
Refereed: Yes
Open Access Journal?: No
Publisher: Elsevier
Date Deposited: 09 Sep 2021 07:29
Last Modified: 08 Feb 2023 09:41

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