|International shipping – a risk for aquatic biodiversity in Germany|
Nehring, S. (2005). International shipping – a risk for aquatic biodiversity in Germany, in: Nentwig, W. et al. (Ed.) (2005). Biological invasions – From ecology to control. NeoBiota, 6: pp. 125-143
In: Nentwig, W. et al. (Ed.) (2005). Biological invasions – From ecology to control. NeoBiota, 6. [S.n.]: Berlin. 199 pp., more
In: NeoBiota. Pensoft Publishers: Berlin. ISSN 1619-0033, more
Aquatic organisms have been moved around the world by humans for centuries. These aliens have led to a profound alteration of the diversity and structure of many biocoenoses, as the example of the introduction of non-indigenous species into German inland waters and coastal waters of the North and Baltic Sea shows. Here, up to now, 98 aquatic alien species from different taxonomic groups have established permanent populations. First data analyses show that German waters are colonized primarily by alien animal species partly on a considerable scale. About every second species has spread successfully across a larger area yet, about every fifth species can be defined as invasive. International shipping represents the most important introduction vector of aquatic alien species in Germany. Next to intercontinental ocean shipping, it is also the canals built for inland shipping during the last centuries, that have removed the natural distribution barriers between previously geographically isolated river and sea basins.
Biological invasions in our waters take place in most parts in a hidden manner and therefore are registered only sporadically. There is no indication that these alien species will ever leave Germany again. And, it is highly probable that in the near future new alien species will arrive in our waters. The ecological consequences which arise for the biocoenoses as well as the scale on which the biodiversity is modified is not analyzed, understood or evaluated in detail yet. For a successful implementation of the Convention on Biological Diversity in Germany expertise, comprehensive knowledge and purposeful analyses are urgently needed. Alien species are still a challenge to act and the prevention of further arrivals is the decisive step to take.