, Volume 7, Issue 3, pp 369-392

Trends in marine biological invasions at local and regional scales: the Northeast Pacific Ocean as a model system

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Abstract

Introduced species are an increasing agent of global change. Biogeographic comparisons of introduced biotas at regional and global scales can clarify trends in source regions, invasion pathways, sink regions, and survey effort. We identify the Northeast Pacific Ocean (NEP; northern California to British Columbia) as a model system for analyzing patterns of marine invasion success in cool temperate waters. We review literature and field surveys, documenting 123 introduced invertebrate, algal, fish, and vascular plant species in the NEP. Major invasion pathways were shipping (hull fouling, solid and water ballast; 1500s-present) and shellfish (particularly oysters) and finfish imports (commonest from the 1870s to mid-1900s). The cumulative number of successful invasions over time increased at linear, quadratic, and exponential rates for different taxa, pathways, and regions within the NEP. Regional analysis of four major NEP estuaries showed that Puget Sound and the contiguous Straits had the most introduced species, followed by Humboldt Bay, Coos Bay and Willapa Bay. Data on cumulative shipping volumes predicted smaller-scale, but not larger-scale spatial patterns in the number of shipping-mediated invasions. We identify the major challenges in scaling up from regional to global invasion analysis in cool temperate regions. Retrospective analyses for distinct biogeographic regions such as the NEP provide insight into vector dynamics and regional invasibility, and are a necessary foundation for monitoring and managing global change caused by biotic invasions.