Indicator: CO-65 Correlation between various human activities and introduction of coastal and marine species

Data

The CSIRO Marine Research database invasion database records 1582 potential or actual marine and estuarine pest species worldwide that are transported in either ballast water, hull fouling samples, or on another vector. 494 of the species are known to be established in Australian waters of which: 156 are native; 129 are non-native; and 209 are cryptogenic (origin unknown). Of those that have arrived, 53 to 73 are classified as having had economic and/or environmental consequences.

The ten potential domestic target species most likely to be spread to uninfected bioregions by shipping are: Schizoporella errata (Bryozoan), Watersipora arcuata (Bryozoan), Cordylophora caspia (Hydroid), Ciona intestinalis (Sea vase), Alexandrium minutum (Dinoflagellate), Sphaeroma walkeri (Marine pill bug), Pseudopolydora paucibranchiata (Spionid polychaete), Tridentiger trigonocephalus (Japanese goby), Bugula neritina (Bryozoan)and Gymnodinium catenatum (Dinoflagellate).

Evaluations suggest that the ten most damaging species are: Gymnodinium catenatum (Dinoflagellate), Alexandrium minutum (Dinoflagellate), Asterias amurensis (Northern Pacific seastar), Sabella spallanzanii (European fan worm), Crassostrea gigas (Pacific oyster), Ciona intestinalis (Sea vase), Bugula neritina (Bryozoan), Polysiphonia brodiaei (Red macroalgae), Schizoporella errata (Bryozoan) and Codium fragile ssp. Tomentosoides (Green macroalgae).

Recent incursions of marine invasive species

Recent incursions of marine invasive species

Source: Warren Geeves, Unpublished, Land, Water and Coasts Division Department of the Environment and Heritage ph 02 6274 1453 warren.geeves@deh.gov.au.

Some of the incursions were the first for the species in Australia (tubeworm and Asian Green Mussel in Cairns, Black Striped Mussel in Darwin), others were most likely a translocation from elsewhere in Australia (Northern Pacific Seastar at Inverloch and Henderson's lagoon, Japanese Seaweed at Tinderbox reserve) and the two incursions Caulerpa taxifolia were of native varieties of this species which is distributed around the world. Most probably many other species expanded their range during this period.

Number of marine species identified that could potentially become invasive in Australia
Potential non-native target species that are established in Australia (ballast water vector) 23
Potential cryptogenic target species that are established in Australia (ballast water vector) 5
Potential non-native target species whose establishment status in Australia is unknown (ballast water vector) 1
Potential non-native target species that are established in Australia (hull fouling vector) 48
Potential cryptogenic target species that are established in Australia (hull fouling vector) 17
Potential non-native target species whose establishment status in Australia is unknown (hull fouling vector) 3

Source: Hayes, K, Sliwa, C, Migus, S, McEnnulty, F, Dunstan, P. 2005, National priority pests: Part II Ranking of Australian marine pests, Department of Environment and Heritage, viewed 1 Jul 2006, http://www.deh.gov.au/coasts/publications/imps/priority2.html.

The map shows overlays of areas of high density shipping and areas where a large number of (but not necessarily high densities of any) introduced species have been found.

Source: National Oceans Office 2006, National Marine Atlas, viewed 29 May 2006, http://www.oceans.gov.au/Non-fish%20Atlas.jsp

The map shows the overlays of introduced species data with the locations of major ports. While not all these introduced species necessarily represent pressures on resident species and ecosystems, the overlays may give some idea of the relationship between shipping and introduction of species.

Source: National Oceans Office 2006, National Marine Atlas, viewed 29 May 2006, http://www.oceans.gov.au/Non-fish%20Atlas.jsp

According to a recent report to the Department of the Environment and Heritage (DEH) by the CRC for Reefs, vectors that could facilitate the introduction and subsequent spread of introduced marine species in the Northern Planning Area (NPA) were identified and qualitatively ranked according to their level of relative risk. From this it became evident that all vectors have multiple routes, often sharing specific corridors. Ballast water and biofouling were identified to be the highest risk vectors for the NPA.

Of the 36 species of known or potential pests that, from current available information could survive and establish in the NPA, over 30 of these are considered as biofouling taxa, including the molluscs, barnacles, bryozoans, ascidians, hydroids, tube worms and crustaceans. Although these could be introduced by a range of vectors they would most likely be introduced by biofouling on vessels. The majority of introductions recorded in tropical waters to date have been the result of unintentional transfers via biofouling. Unlike southern Australia and other, international, locations there are no recorded ballast water introductions or intentional introductions resulting from mariculture, sport fishery or historical reasons.

Source: Neil, K.M.; Hillard, R.; Clark, P.; Russell, B. 2005, A Situation and Gaps Analysis of IMS, Vectors, Nodes and Management Arrangements for the Northern Planning Area, Department of the Environment and Heritage.

What the data mean

The National Marine Atlas maps do not show a very intense correlation between the high density shipping lanes and a large variety of introduced species. However, they do show that the highest numbers of introduced species seem to be reported in areas where a large number of major ports are clustered.

This finding is somewhat ambiguous. On the one hand, it would be consistent with introduction of foreign organisms primarily by shipping. Introduction of new species may, in fact, be just as frequent in the shipping lanes as in the port vicinities, but are less likely to be observed. Where these new species are introduced in the vicinities of port facilities, they are more likely to be observed. On the other hand, because the vicinities of Australian ports are generally densely populated human settlements, it would be difficult to discern whether it is the shipping, or the coastal activity, that was responsible for the introduction of the bulk of new species.

Data Limitations

The indicator shows only the spatial relationship between ports, shipping lanes and introduced species but provides no more detailed insight into the particular activity likely to be responsible for the introduction.

The data refer only to the number of different introduced species, rather than to the density of any particular species, how long it has been there, changes in its population, whether it appears to pose any threat to resident species or ecosystems, or the intensity of other anthropogenic factors that may have the potential to turn it into a threat.

At this stage, no trend data are available on changes in number of species reported around ports and along shipping lanes.

Issues for which this is an indicator and why

Coasts and Oceans — Direct pressure of human activities on coasts and oceans - Direct pressure of shipping 

Species can be introduced to an ecosystem from various sources, including from fishing activities, on exploration rigs and from coastal activity. However, the principal means of introduction is believed to be from ballast water and on the hulls of ships.

While number of introduced species is not indicative of anything in its own right, some introduced species do have the capacity to impact on resident species and ecosystems, especially in combination with other anthropogenic factors. However, the correlation between intensity of shipping activity (or other marine uses) and intensity of species introduction may shed light on the relative importance of the various ways in which species are introduced to new waters.

Other indicators for this issue:

Coasts and Oceans — Direct pressure of human activities on coasts and oceans - Pressure of fishing 

Species can be introduced to an ecosystem from various sources, including from fishing activities, on exploration rigs and from coastal activity. However, the principal means of introduction is believed to be from ballast water and on the hulls of ships.

While number of introduced species is not indicative of anything in its own right, some introduced species do have the capacity to impact on resident species and ecosystems, especially in combination with other anthropogenic factors. However, the correlation between intensity of shipping activity (or other marine uses) and intensity of species introduction may shed light on the relative importance of the various ways in which species are introduced to new waters.

Other indicators for this issue:

Coasts and Oceans — Direct pressure of human activities on coasts and oceans - Direct pressures of harvesting non-living materials 

Species can be introduced to an ecosystem from various sources, including from fishing activities, on exploration rigs and from coastal activity. However, the principal means of introduction is believed to be from ballast water and on the hulls of ships.

While number of introduced species is not indicative of anything in its own right, some introduced species do have the capacity to impact on resident species and ecosystems, especially in combination with other anthropogenic factors. However, the correlation between intensity of shipping activity (or other marine uses) and intensity of species introduction may shed light on the relative importance of the various ways in which species are introduced to new waters.

Other indicators for this issue:

Coasts and Oceans — Direct pressure of human activities on coasts and oceans - Direct pressure of coastal activities (other than shipping and fishing) 

Species can be introduced to an ecosystem from various sources, including from fishing activities, on exploration rigs and from coastal activity. However, the principal means of introduction is believed to be from ballast water and on the hulls of ships.

While number of introduced species is not indicative of anything in its own right, some introduced species do have the capacity to impact on resident species and ecosystems, especially in combination with other anthropogenic factors. However, the correlation between intensity of shipping activity (or other marine uses) and intensity of species introduction may shed light on the relative importance of the various ways in which species are introduced to new waters.

Other indicators for this issue:

Biodiversity — Pressures on biodiversity - Pressures on marine biodiversity: pressures of fishing 

Introduction of foreign species via fishing related activities is a pressure on marine biodiversity. The correlation between intensity of fishing activity (or other marine uses) and intensity of species introduction may shed light on the relative importance of the various ways in which species are introduced to new waters.

Other indicators for this issue:

Biodiversity — Pressures on biodiversity - Pressures on marine biodiversity: pressures of shipping 

Shipping is a principal means whereby new species are introduced to marine areas. New species can potentially become invasive and impact on resident biodiversity.

Other indicators for this issue:

Biodiversity — Pressures on biodiversity - Pressures on marine biodiversity: pressures of energy and mineral exploration and extraction 

Oil rigs have been identified as one of the means whereby new species are introduced to marine areas where they may impact on marine biodiversity.

Other indicators for this issue:

Biodiversity — Pressures on biodiversity - Pressures on marine biodiversity: pressures of coastal activities 

New species with the potential to place pressure on resident biodiversity can be introduced via a range of coastal activities, including companion animals escaped or released from captivity and micro-organisms released through sewerage systems.

Other indicators for this issue:

Biodiversity — Utilisation and value of biodiversity - Harvesting and trade in wildlife 

Harvesting of wild fish is a primary means whereby news species are introduced into Australian waters.

Other indicators for this issue:

Biodiversity — Pressures on biodiversity - Pressures on marine biodiversity: Pressures on coasts and oceans arising from multiple causes 

The full range of human activities involving the coasts and oceans can result in the introduction of new species that could potentially place pressure on marine biodiversity.

Other indicators for this issue:

Further Information