Title

Ascidians as models for studying invasion success

Author ORCID Identifier

http://orcid.org/0000-0001-7264-732X

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

2015

Publication Title

Marine Biology

Volume

162

Issue

12

First Page

2449

Last Page

2470

DOI

10.1007/s00227-015-2734-5

Abstract

During the past three decades, coastal marine waters have become among the most invaded habitats globally. Ascidians are among the most notorious invaders in these ecosystems. Owing to their rapid spread, frequent population outbreaks, and associated negative ecological and economic impacts, invasive ascidians have become a global problem. Thus, the study of ascidian invasions has become a prominent area of invasion biology. Here, we review current knowledge and conclude that ascidians are good models for studying invasion success in the marine realm. Firstly, we summarize the reconstruction of invasion pathways or colonization histories and associated negative impacts of invasive ascidians, and address the urgent need to clarify ambiguous taxonomy of ascidians. Secondly, we discuss factors that underlie or facilitate invasion success of ascidians, including vectors of introduction and spread, environmental changes, biological traits, and possible genetic issues. Finally, we summarize current science-based policies and management solutions that are in place to prevent and control spread of invasive ascidians. We conclude by highlighting key research questions that remain to be answered, and propose future research to investigate mechanisms of invasion success in the marine realm using ascidians as model systems. © 2015, Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg.

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