A review of the diversity and impact of invasive non-native species in tropical marine ecosystems.
Tropical marine ecosystems are biologically diverse and economically invaluable. However, they are severely threatened from impacts associated with climate change coupled with localized and regional stressors, such as pollution and overfishing. Non-native species (sometimes referred to as 'alien' species) are another major threat facing these ecosystems, although rarely discussed and overshadowed by the other stressors mentioned above. NNS can be introduced accidentally (for example via shipping activities) and/or sometimes intentionally (for aquaculture or by hobbyists). Understanding the extent of the impacts NNS have on native flora and fauna often remains challenging, along with ascertaining when the species in question actually became 'invasive'. Here we review the status of this threat across key tropical marine ecosystems such as coral reefs, algae meadows, mangroves, and seagrass beds. We aim to provide a baseline of where invasive NNS can be found, when they are thought to have been introduced and what impact they are thought to be having on the native ecosystems they now inhabit. In the appended material we provide a comprehensive list of NNS covering key groups such as macroalgae, sponges, seagrasses and mangroves, anthozoans, bryozoans, ascidians, fishes, and crustaceans.