SPOTLIGHT: New Evidence of Marine Fauna Tropicalization off the Southwestern Iberian Peninsula (Southwest Europe)
What is the overall context in which this research was developed?
The appearance of novel marine species, invasive or not, for the Algarve region is increasing over the last years. So far, the major reports have been made for the Guadiana estuary and Ria Formosa, with species like weakfish Cynoscion regalis or blue crab Callinectes sapidus, both native to North America. So far these reports are mainly localised in the Sotavento area of Algarve, which these new reports came to show that similar processes are occurring in the western Algarve (Barlavento area).
What are the main scientific advances/opportunities that this research brings?
Three of these species are first records of occurrence for the Portugal continental coast. Species extending their geographic range due to climate change must also be included in local resources management. Warming sea temperatures are forcing a poleward movement of species in the North Atlantic, similar to what has been widely reported in the Mediterranean Sea. Therefore, managing invasive species introduction along with “natural” expansion of species is a research area of upmost importance.
What extent does this research contributes to society and/or business?
So far the reports on new species appearance has been mainly due to sporadic reports by fishermen or the general public, which also encourages us to keep developing citizen science approaches in several areas. In the near future, a better knowledge on fish, crustaceans or jellyfish species’ distribution and abundance across the Algarve can lead to new uses of these new resources (e.g. biocompounds, tourism activities, gourmet cooking), increasing income for local fishermen and populations.
You can read the full article here: https://www.mdpi.com/1424-2818/11/4/48