Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Data-driven recommendations for establishing threshold values for the NIS trend indicator in the Mediterranean Sea.

Abstract

In the present work, we analysed time series data on the introduction of new non-indigenous species (NIS) in the Mediterranean between 1970 and 2017, aiming to arrive at recommendations concerning the reference period and provisional threshold values for the NIS trend indicator. We employed regression analysis and breakpoint structural analysis. Our results confirm earlier findings that the reference conditions differ for the four Mediterranean subregions, and support a shortening of the reporting cycle from six to three years, with a two-year time lag for the ensuing assessment. Excluding Lessepsian fishes and parasites, the reference period, defined as the most recent time segment with stable mean new NIS values, was estimated as 1997-2017 for the eastern Mediterranean, 2012-2017 for the central Mediterranean, 2000-2017 for the Adriatic and 1970-2017 for the western Mediterranean. These findings are interpreted primarily on the basis of a basin scale temperature regime shift in the late 1990s, shifts in driving forces such as shellfish culture, and as a result of intensified research efforts and citizen scientist initiatives targeting NIS in the last decade. The threshold values, i.e., the three-year average new NIS values during the reference period, are indicative and will ultimately depend on the choice of species and pathways to be used in the calculations. This is discussed through the prism of target setting in alignment with specific management objectives.