Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Do non-native sea anemones (Cnidaria: Actiniaria) share a common invasion pattern? - a systematic review.

Abstract

A number of cnidarian species are known to have become marine invaders across a diversity of regions and habitats, including sea anemones of the order Actiniaria. Unfortunately, integrative approaches to identify and describe general patterns and likely drivers of their invasion process have only been of recent interest. The goal of this systematic review is to summarize and categorize the literature published on non-native populations of sea anemone species and to assess whether these records exhibit a shared common invasion pattern. A total of 126 articles were analyzed, in which 11 species presented records of suspected non-native populations. Our results showed that sea anemone invasions date back to at least the late 1890s and new introductions have recently been reported for different species in the last five years. Some potential biases in the literature were found in relation to species, marine realms and study approaches. Most study efforts have been focused on a single species (Diadumene lineata), especially in the Temperate Northern Atlantic. A seemingly common shared pattern was found and described throughout all stages of the invasion continuum, but more effort should be focused on the less reported/studied species. Transport has mainly been mediated by human-associated vectors, such as maritime traffic and aquaculture. Newly arrived individuals colonize mostly natural habitats, although some species thrive in human-made habitats. A diverse array of traits has been associated with the invasion success of sea anemones, although the two most frequently reported traits in the literature were abiotic tolerance and the reproductive strategies. Unlike other benthic invaders, the dispersal mechanisms (both primary and secondary spread) and the ecological or economic consequences produced by nonnative sea anemone populations have been little explored and thus need more attention. We discuss potential ways to reduce some of the gaps and research biases found and thus develop a better understanding of the invasion ecology of sea anemones.