Arctic invasion threats from ballast water

The world's shipping fleets can introduce non-native marine species that could inadvertently become invasive in suitable areas.

GBIF-mediated data resources used : 27,000 species occurrences (estimate)

Ships transport myriad marine organisms around the world in ballast water that may, when exchanged, introduce foreign species that become invasive in suitable areas. This study surveyed ballast water of eight foreign ships landing at the Norwegian archipelago of Svalbard, carrying out morphological and molecular analyses of the organisms on board.

GBIF-mediated data provided information on the global distribution of the identified species and, in combination with climatic data, served to predict whether suitable niches exist around Svalbard. While these results showed that only one of 23 species had invasive potential, future climate scenarios increase the ranks of likely invaders to six species.

Ware C, Berge J, Jelmert A, Olsen SM, Pellissier L, Wisz M, Kriticos D, Semenov G, Kwaśniewski S and Alsos IG (2015) Biological introduction risks from shipping in a warming Arctic. Journal of Applied Ecology. Wiley-Blackwell, 340–349. Available at