ATLAS: Mediterranean Invasion

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Science  30 Nov 2001:
Vol. 294, Issue 5548, pp. 1795
DOI: 10.1126/science.294.5548.1795d

Sun-starved tourists aren't the only outsiders flocking to the Mediterranean. Hundreds of exotic creatures have wandered in from the Atlantic, sneaked through the Suez Canal, or been introduced by people. One invader, the pushy Caulerpa alga, is smothering native species in many spots across the Mediterranean, but the effects of most exotics are unknown.

The CIESM Atlas of Exotic Species is the first attempt to inventory all these interlopers, such as the hard-biting requiem sharks. The International Commission for the Scientific Exploration of the Mediterranean Sea, an 80-year-old consortium with members from 22 countries, has posted three volumes covering invasive mollusks, crustaceans, and fishes. Three to five more volumes will go up in the next several years. Written by experts on the groups, the more than 250 accounts detail each species' appearance, ecology, behavior, distribution, entrance route, economic importance, and region of origin.

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