Biological Invasions

, Volume 19, Issue 3, pp 799–813 | Cite as

Dynamics of biological invasions and pathways over time: a case study of a temperate coastal sea

  • Henn OjaveerEmail author
  • Sergej Olenin
  • Aleksas Narščius
  • Ann-Britt Florin
  • Elena Ezhova
  • Stephan Gollasch
  • Kathe R. Jensen
  • Maiju Lehtiniemi
  • Dan Minchin
  • Monika Normant-Saremba
  • Solvita Strāke
Original Paper


Coastal and regional sea ecosystems suffer from several human-induced stressors, including human mediated bioinvasions. The Baltic Sea is generally considered to be susceptible to invasions by non-indigenous species (NIS). Out of the total of 132 NIS and cryptogenic species recorded, 59% are currently established in at least one country surrounding the Baltic Sea. On average, each country currently hosts 27 such species with 15% of the established species being found in at least 50% of the countries. Benthic macroinvertebrates dominate, both among those recorded (48%) and established (59%) species. Shipping, deliberate stocking and natural spread of NIS previously introduced to the North Sea are the main introduction pathways, with considerable dynamics over time. Amongst the pathways responsible for the currently established species, shipping and natural spread strongly dominate. Substantial uncertainty in the information on introduction pathways (except for deliberate releases) hampers detailed analyses and poses major challenges for management. Spatio-temporal variability in the invasion dynamics reflects both the spatial differences in the main hydrographic conditions of the Baltic Sea as well as the availability of introduction pathways. We conclude that the Baltic Sea cannot be considered as a uniform waterbody in terms of the established introduced species and at least two major regions with differing hydrographic conditions and introduction pathways can be clearly distinguished. Due to the importance of natural spread of NIS from the North Sea, regional cooperation in bioinvasion management should be enhanced in the future.


Baltic Sea Non-indigenous and cryptogenic species Deliberate and accidental introductions Secondary spread Taxonomic similarity 



The authors are grateful to two anonymous reviewers for their comments that improved the quality of the manuscript. Members of the Working Group on Introductions and Transfers of Marine Organisms of the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES WGITMO) are acknowledged for developing AquaNIS and contributing the data. The research leading to these results has received funding from the European Community’s Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007–2013) under Grant Agreement No. 266445 for the Vectors Change in Oceans and Seas Marine Life, Impact on Economics Sectors (VECTORS), and under Grant Agreement No. 308392 for the Development of innovative tools for understanding marine biodiversity and assessing good environmental status (DEVOTES). This work also resulted from the BONUS BIO-C3 project that were supported by BONUS (Art 185), funded jointly by the EU, and Estonian Research Council, and Academy of Finland. HO was partially funded by Estonian Ministry of Education and Research (Grant SF0180005s10). AN, DM and SS were funded by the project BALMAN (Development of ships’ ballast water management system to prevent biological invasions) Granted by the Mutual Funds between the Ministry of Education and Science of the Republic of Lithuania, the Ministry of Education and Science of the Republic of Latvia and the Ministry of Science and Technology, Taiwan. ML was partially funded by the Finnish Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry through the project VISAKE. EE was funded by general budget of the Shirshov Institute of Oceanology RAS, Atlantic Branch (scientific theme 0149-2014-0055).

Supplementary material

10530_2016_1316_MOESM1_ESM.docx (26 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 26 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Henn Ojaveer
    • 1
    Email author
  • Sergej Olenin
    • 2
  • Aleksas Narščius
    • 3
  • Ann-Britt Florin
    • 4
  • Elena Ezhova
    • 5
  • Stephan Gollasch
    • 6
  • Kathe R. Jensen
    • 7
  • Maiju Lehtiniemi
    • 8
  • Dan Minchin
    • 2
    • 9
  • Monika Normant-Saremba
    • 10
  • Solvita Strāke
    • 11
  1. 1.Estonian Marine InstituteUniversity of TartuPärnuEstonia
  2. 2.Marine Science and Technology CenterKlaipeda UniversityKlaipedaLithuania
  3. 3.Open Access Marine Research CenterKlaipeda UniversityKlaipedaLithuania
  4. 4.Department of Aquatic Resources, Institute of Coastal ResearchSwedish University of Agricultural SciencesÖregrundSweden
  5. 5.P.P. Shirshov Institute of Oceanology, Atlantic BranchRussian Academy of SciencesKaliningradRussia
  6. 6.GoConsultHamburgGermany
  7. 7.Zoological MuseumCopenhagenDenmark
  8. 8.Finnish Environment Institute, Marine Research CenterHelsinkiFinland
  9. 9.Marine Organism InvestigationsBallina, Killaloe, Co ClareIreland
  10. 10.Department of Experimental Ecology of Marine Organisms, Institute of OceanographyUniversity of GdańskGdyniaPoland
  11. 11.Latvian Institute of Aquatic EcologyRigaLatvia

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