Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

First mussel settlement observed in Antarctica reveals the potential for future invasions.

Abstract

Global biodiversity is both declining and being redistributed in response to multiple drivers characterizing the Anthropocene, including synergies between biological invasions and climate change. The Antarctic marine benthos may constitute the last biogeographic realm where barriers (oceanographic currents, climatic gradients) have not yet been broken. Here we report the successful settlement of a cohort of Mytilus cf. platensis in a shallow subtidal habitat of the South Shetland Islands in 2019, which demonstrates the ability of this species to complete its early life stages in this extreme environment. Genetic analyses and shipping records show that this observation is consistent with the dominant vectors and pathways linking southern Patagonia with the Antarctic Peninsula and demonstrates the potential for impending invasions of Antarctic ecosystems.