Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Biodiversity impacts by multiple anthropogenic stressors in Mediterranean coastal wetlands.

Abstract

Mediterranean coastal wetlands are considered biodiversity hot-spots and contain a high number of endemic species. The biodiversity of these ecosystems is endangered by several pressures resulting from agricultural and urban expansion, climate change, and the alteration of their hydrological cycle. In this study we assess the state-of-the-art regarding the impact of several stressor groups on the biodiversity of Mediterranean coastal wetlands (i.e., lagoons, marshes, estuaries). Particularly, we describe the impacts of eutrophication, chemical pollution, invasive species, salinization, and temperature rise, and analyze the existing literature regarding the impact of multiple stressors on these ecosystems. Our study denotes a clear asymmetry both in terms of study areas and stressors evaluated. The majority of studies focus on lagoons and estuaries of the north-west parts of the Mediterranean basin, while the African and the Asian coast have been less represented. Eutrophication and chemical pollution were the most studied stressors compared to others like temperature rise or species invasions. Most studies evaluating these stressors individually show direct or indirect effects on the biodiversity of primary producers and invertebrate communities, and changes in species dominance patterns that contribute to a decline of endemic populations. The few available studies addressing stressor interactions have shown non-additive responses, which are important to define appropriate ecosystem management and restoration measures. Finally, we propose research needs to advance our understanding on the impacts of anthropogenic stressors on Mediterranean coastal wetlands and to guide future interventions to protect biodiversity.