Current status of the marine bioinvasion research in Venezuela: topics and temporal trends.
Venezuela has one of the richest marine biodiversity areas in the world. Despite the high risk for the introduction of exotic species derived from historically high tourist activity and maritime transportation, the country does not have an updated revision to examine the main advances and gaps of knowledge in regards of biological invasions. This study aims to review the current state of knowledge regarding marine invasions in Venezuela, identifying the main research topics and the spatial and temporal trends. An extensive literature review carried out in multiple scientific databases showed that 35 articles were published between 1998 and 2018. Studies were conducted mainly on the eastern coast of the country. From the 94 species reported as exotic or cryptogenic, only 11 were studied under the context of biological invasions, most of them being first records. Contrary to the trend observed in most parts of the world, the number of studies decreased in the last decade, potentially related to the socio-political situation of the country. The current knowledge on biological invasions in Venezuela is pour. This important lack of information limits progress regarding prevention plans and increases risk for biosecurity and marine conservation of the country.