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Insights into invasive marine species

A recent research project investigated how marine invasive species are affected by relatedness to species within the invaded ecosystem.
Insights into invasive marine species
Phylogenetics (the study of relatedness between species) has contributed to our understanding of invasion biology in terrestrial ecosystems. Although marine invasive species are a huge economic and ecological challenge, similar research in marine systems has been lacking.

The EU-funded MARINVASPHYLOGEN project was established to examine whether invasion success could be predicted through phylogenetics. The project focused on invertebrates, one of the most common types of invasive species in marine ecosystems.

Researchers conducted fieldwork on the northern Californian coast to understand how different species and groups of species act as barriers to invasion. They found that several biotic resistance mechanisms work together over time to limit the success of an invasive invertebrate.

As part of the project, the University of California provided extensive molecular biology training in aid of the investigation. This enabled an in-depth analysis of the phylogenetic structure of the study sites, in both a local and global framework.

The final aspect of the project involved collating the information gained into a holistic picture of phylogenetics and invasion biology in a marine ecosystem. MARINVASPHYLOGEN has thus advanced our understanding of invasion biology and the phylogenetic relationships that underlie it.

Related information

Keywords

Marine species, invasive species, marine ecosystem, phylogenetics, invasion biology, invertebrate, biotic resistance
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