CIESM International Conference on East - West Cooperation in Marine Science
(Sochi, 1-3 December 2014)

Abstracts of Panel communications


Panel [A] - Physical processes in coastal waters
Panel [B] - Geo-hazards
Panel [C] - Invasive species
Panel [D] - Contaminants & marine litter
Panel [E] - Marine biotechnology & society
Panel [F] - Data harmonization

Panels abstracts

Panel [C] - Invasive species

co-moderators : Drs Bella Galil and Tamara Shiganova

Title : Mediterranezation as a main factor determined current ichthyofauna diversity in the Black Sea.
by A.R Boltachev, Karpova E.P.
IBSS, Sevastopol, Russia

Summary :
The Black sea is a unique water reservoir, in which at quite small time term one can observe sequences of natural cataclysms and different human activity forms for the state of all its ecosystem. Permanent process of mediterranization – penetration of hydrobionts from Mediterranean sea to the Black sea, which lasts for about 8 thousand recent years after the last renewal of the water exchange between these seas is the main nature fact, determining formation of the flora and fauna in the Black sea.
Part of the Mediterranean migrants adapt to quite rigid conditions of the Black sea and form stable self-reproductive populations up to formation of so called “new autochtone” sub-species and even species, which is a theme for separate investigations. Unique nature of the Black sea ichthyofauna, which includes autochtone grouping of the salty water Pontic – Caspian endemics, anadromous and fresh water fish and allochtone Mediterranean invaders was described already by the first investigators of the Black sea P.S. Pallas, K.F. Kessler and others.
On the base of their fundamental ichthyologic data it could be possible to conduct the studies of continuous competition between representatives of these groupings, in which by species diversity and abundance marine euribiontic species – invaders win. But we should consider, that at about 100 last years anthropogenic factor plays considerable role in the changes of the Black sea ecosystem structural characteristics.
According to the results of original and literature data at the last 20 years findings of 30 alien marine fish species were registered reliably; of this number 19 were registered for the first time, and 11 earlier known by singular exemplars were found in new parts of the sea coastal zone. Among new species only two do not belong to the Mediterranean basin (Tridentiger trigonocephalus, Heniochus acuminatus); their penetration from the far regions of the World ocean is possibly connected with human activity. Determination of a level of their naturalization and influence on the native biocenoses is the most important moment in the studies of problems, connected with species – invaders.
As a result ofr using complex monitoring researches in the Black sea coastal zone of Crimea with fishing and different not standard methods of catching 24 new for this sea region sea fishes were found by the present time; 10 of them were registered for the first time for the Black sea and this figure is bigger than for the other regions of the sea. Of all these species by the present time 13 naturalized and formed local populations, and two – Parablennius incognitus and Pomatoschistus bathi distributed along considerable part of the Black sea coast. Three species are met sporadically and 8 are occasional, known by singular findings. The base of those naturalized species (10) is made by small cryptobenthic fish mostly from Gobiidae families, having hiding way of life, that is why it is quite problematic to find out more or less exact time of their intrusion. Majority of them belong to the Eastern- Atlantic or Mediterranean ichthyofaunic complex, but also they registered autonomous penetration to the south-western Crimean shore of two Indo-pacific species – “lessepsian” migrants Sphyraena pinguis and Lalocephalus sceleratus.
Organization of the monitoring investigations of the fish species diversity in all the regions of the Black sea coastal zone will help to reveal a real picture of alien species distribution in the Black sea.


Title : Invasive species in the Mediterranean and Black Seas: insights into knowledge gaps and into their management
by Charles F. Boudouresque
Univ. Aix-Marseille & Toulon, MIO, Marseille, France

Summary :
Invasive species are non-indigenous species (NIS) that are naturalized (introduced) and harmful from an ecological, economical and/or human health point of view. Only a part of naturalized NIS prove harmful (the ‘tens rule’), though predicting their actual behaviour is generally impossible. In addition, naturalized NIS can be harmless for a while and subsequently become harmful (lag time), i.e. invasive. The introduction process involves a donor region, a vector, a corridor, a recipient region, a candidate species and a variety of filters that hinder the process. All of these filters must be simultaneously open to allow a candidate species to become naturalized. Once a species is naturalized, there are 3 phases in the process of colonization: (i) a lag time (optional), (ii) an expansion phase, when the species will try to occupy all of the habitats and the entire geographical range to which it may have access and (iii) a persistence phase, when it occupies all of the accessible habitats and the entire accessible geographical range and therefore stops its range extension.
The Mediterranean Sea constitutes a hotspot of species diversity. The Mediterranean and Black Seas also constitute the area hosting worldwide the largest number (~1 000) of NIS, naturalized or invasive taxa. This feature is mainly due to their pivotal place in the world maritime traffic and in the opening of the Suez Canal that allows an increasing flow of Red Sea species entering into the Mediterranean. Invasive species have already disrupted, or even turned upset down, the functioning of native ecosystems, in large areas of the two seas, e.g. le Levantine Basin (Red Sea immigrants) and northern brackish lagoons (Japanese species of cold affinities).
Updated censuses of NIS belonging to many taxa (e.g. teleosts, mollusks, red algae, chlorobionts and Phaeophyceae) are available. However, incomers are continuously arriving, data are lacking or relatively poor concerning some taxa (e.g. unicellular, trematodes) and some areas are poorly monitored (e.g. Libya, Algeria). Many invasive species prove to be key species (e.g. Mnemiopsis leidyi, Siganus spp., Fistularia commersonii, Asparagopsis spp.) or ecosystem engineers (e.g. Caulerpa taxifolia, C. cylindracea, Undaria pinnatifida). They therefore obviously lead to deep changes in the functioning of benthic and pelagic ecosystems (e.g. seagrass ecosystems, sub-littoral reef habitats) and even to the building of new ecosystems. However, these changes in the ecosystem functioning (e.g. functional compartments, energy and nutrient flows, export and import of organic matter) are often more suspected than actually described and quantified. Finally, economic consequences of biological invasions, which could be greater than ecological consequences, are rarely tackled by researchers of Mediterranean countries.
Hitherto, stakeholders, managers and policy makers seem to be powerless or non-active in attempting to fight the invasive species, or at least in slowing down the flow of incomers. Yet, half a dozen of international conventions (e.g. Bern Convention, Bonn Convention, Barcelona Convention) and European Union Directives (Habitat Directive, Marine Strategy Framework Directive) ask the member states preventing the introduction of alien species, and controlling or eradicating those alien species which threaten ecosystems, habitats and species. Unfortunately, these non-binding conventions are poorly enforced. Combating and preventing species introduction obviously constitutes a difficult task. Yet, solutions do exist. Listing and improving them should constitute a priority goal.


Title : Avant le deluge: bioinvasions in the Mediterranean Sea
by Bella Galil
National Institute of Oceanography, Haifa, Israel

Summary :
Recognition of the significant threats posed by invasive alien species (IAS) is evident in recent national and international legislations, regulations and conventions. Articles of the Convention on Biological Diversity enjoin signatories to ‘‘prevent the introduction of, control or eradicate those alien species which threaten ecosystems, habitats or species’’. Similarly, the Aichi Biodiversity Targets include identification and prioritization of IAS and proposes that by 2020“measures are in place to manage pathways to prevent their introduction and establishment”.

The Mediterranean Sea has the largest number of recorded marine IAS, and the majority were introduced through the Suez Canal - the most potent corridor for invasions by marine species known in the world. On August 5th, 2014, Egypt made public the plans to enlarge the Suez Canal, doubling its capacity by creating a new canal parallel to the current channel. The enlargement of the Suez Canal will result in increasing the number of invasions from the Red Sea with a diverse range of deleterious effects not only on biological diversity, but also on the ecosystem structure and functioning of the whole Mediterranean Sea together with implications to services it provides for humans.
Assessment of ecological and economic-societal impacts caused by the introduction of IAS is essential to their management. However, only few IAS in the Mediterranean have been evaluated for impact: the evidence for most of the reported ecosystem impacts is weak, based as it is on ‘expert judgement’ or observational correlations. Furthermore, impacts of single marine IAS are very often impossible to ascertain, even less to quantify, in a multi- IAS system buffeted by other drivers of change.

It is recommend that the under resourced and understudied marine IAS impact research receive immediate attention and funding, to close the gap and bring the data to levels that allow more comprehensive impact assessments to meet legislative requirements.
It is suggested that due to major limitation in data of marine IAS impacts and the infeasibility of eradication, management of IAS in the Mediterranean Sea should be focused on precautionary practice which emphasizes preventing new incursions through pre-border controls (i.e. managing invasion vectors and pathways).

The ecological and socio-economical consequences of the enlargement of the Suez Canal enjoin the undertaking of comprehensive impact assessments involving the countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea to ensure thorough risk analysis and implementation of control and mitigation measures.


Title : The role of marine protected areas in biodiversity conservation of the Azov-Black Sea basin
by N.A. Milchakova
A.O. Kovalevsky Inst. of Biology, Sevastopol, Russia

Summary :
Creating a developed network of marine protected areas (MPAs) with a total area of 10% of the oceans is one of the objectives declared by the Convention on Biological Diversity, 2020. Restoring the quality of environment is supported by the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD 2008), Black Sea Strategic Action Plan (BS SAP 2009), and many conventions and agreements that linked the growing anthropogenic impacts (pollution, oil spills, overfishing, exotic species, tourism, recreation, transportation). Although the creation of MPAs is not the sole method of preserving biodiversity, resources, natural landscapes and habitats, however, marked recovery of the environmental quality of and ecological balance.
To date, there are 54 Black Sea MPAs (8013.27 km2, 1.9% of the marine area), including three Biosphere Reserves; there are guarded 37 benthic biocenosis by EUNIS classification. The greatest MPA number of different categories centered off the coast of Russia, almost no protected waters near Bulgaria and Georgia. For comparison, there are over 700 MPAs in the Mediterranean, occupying 4.56% its area, protected by over 200 EUNIS habitats ("Status of MPA in the Mediterranean Sea", 2012).
The Azov-Black Sea basin perform the functions of biological and landscape diversity as MPAs for a limited number of reasons; 46 sites do not have financial support, only 6 sites have development and management plans (Milchakova, 2011). Difficulties of correct MPAs operation are also associated with the methodology of their formation, mainly on their proximity to protected areas, and not on scientific, ecosystem or environmental significance. Most MPAs are in the coastal zone, their area is small, and virtually no environmental measures were implemented due to the lack of state protection status (category IUCN III-VI). Actually, two fully marine Botanical Reserves exists, "Zernov's Phyllophora Field" (created in 2008; 4025 km2) and "Small Phyllophora Field" (created in 2012; 385 km2). Implementation of environmental protection measures for these reserves is difficult because Phyllophora crispa is not a protected species in Ukraine (but protected by the Red Books of Russia and Black Sea), and because of the intensified threat of extraction of mineral and living resources in the north-western shelf. Deteriorating the quality of environment leads to development the atypical and invasive species, these include 16 species of macrophytes. Obviously, tropicalization and implementation of Ponto-Caspian endemics and relicts can cause not only a transformation of flora, but affect the formation and production of macrophytes, trophic structure of coastal ecosystems.
Another difficulty for functioning MPAs is that more than half are located in the coastal zone of Crimea (31 sites), which on one hand refers to one of the centers of biodiversity in Europe (according to IUCN), and on the other hand is a recreational and tourist center. In these circumstances, current and future direction of development of MPAs in the Azov-Black Sea basin is the organization of management and comprehensive monitoring, it is possible to find a balance between the conservation of biological and landscape diversity and economic activities with the development of the Black Sea states.


Title : CIESM Tropical Signals – Tracking changes in Mediterranean biodiversity
by Paula Moschella
CIESM, The Mediterranean Science Commission, Monte Carlo, Monaco

Summary :
The complex geological history of the Mediterranean Basin, the past climatic fluctuations marked by dramatic extinction events have contributed, on the course of millions of years, to the development of a unique, rich biodiversity embracing species of boreal, subtropical, tropical and circum-tropical origin, as well as nearly 30% of endemics. Mediterranean marine biota is still changing, but at much faster rate, on a scale of tens of years. Besides anthropogenic stressors impacting directly native habitats and species, and the continuous, relentless man-made introduction of exotic species, climate warming acts as an “overarching” factor, affecting the whole Mediterranean Basin. The raise in sea temperature recorded in the last decades in both deep and surface waters is concurrent with the increased establishment success of exotic thermophilic species and their spread towards higher latitudes. Similarly, warming of Mediterranean waters appears to affect native species with limited thermal tolerance, facilitating the range expansion of warm water species to the detriment of those of boreal origin already restricted in the northernmost, coldest areas of the Basin. Despite the mounting evidence of changes in the distribution ranges of many species, the process of “tropicalization” of the Mediterranean biota remains poorly understood, based on occasional, usually local studies and its causal link to the sea warming remains to be demonstrated in the absence of long term data series.

In this context, the CIESM Tropical Signals programme is conceived to track and assess the impacts of the Mediterranean warming on marine biota via: a) monitoring of long term species distributional changes (expansion of native and alien “warm-water” species, range contraction of native “cold-water” species; shifts in species depth distribution) and relate them to sea temperature trends; b) early detection of short-term, temperature driven events (mass mortalities and necrosis, species outbreaks, phenological changes). To this end, 22 research teams from 15 riparian countries with leading expertise on climate change, biogeography and alien species was established to create a dynamic network covering the whole Basin. Together we carefully selected a set of over 80 temperature sensitive species (from benthic invertebrates to fish) to be monitored as representative macrodescriptors of climate warming and developed a simple, cost-effective yet robust, monitoring methodology tailored to last on the long term and replicable at basin scale, to guarantee meaningful time series. Biological monitoring is combined with continuous in situ measurements of sea temperature within 5-35 m depth range, recorded by autonomous micro loggers, allowing to detect in shallow waters sudden temperature anomalies (e.g., thermocline shifts) or variability otherwise not detectable by satellite datasets. In parallel, the Programme has developed new survey methods involving fishermen, expert divers and MPAs managers to gather complementary information on selected macrodescriptors.
After a first phase of Programme consolidation, development and testing of methodology, Tropical Signals is fully operational, and already proves successful as a long-term “warning system” of biodiversity changes in response to Mediterranean warming.


Title : Alien species of European part of Russia: information system, database, vectors, main pathways and the risk assessment of their expansion
by V.G Petrosyan
A.N. Severtsov Inst., Moscow, Russia

Summary :
At present the problem of biological invasions of alien species is one of the acute questions of many countries of the world. The broadening and simplification of communications between different countries leads to active and passive transfer of alien species into new habitats, where they often get into conditions favorable for their spreading that result in displacement of local species and, finally, the change of entire ecosystems. The studies have showed that alien species colonize European part of Russia at the greater extent, the part where 78% of the country population lives and where the main thoroughfares and economic facilities are concentrated. Taking into account the scale of invasion process, it is obvious that it is impossible to solve all the questions connected with alien species control in the territory of European part of Russia at once. In this connection, a special importance is gained by determination of priority target species and risk assessment for influencing the invasion process. On the basis of available databases, WEB-oriented information system "Alien species of Russia" ( and literature sources ( for the European part of Russia has been determined 35 alien species, which can be priority targets for control. At present special studies are carrying out for every target species, all available information on their distribution, life-style peculiarities, the main invasion corridors and dispersion vectors, effects on aboriginal species and ecosystems, influence on the human health and population control methods is gathered and generalized. On the basis of these data it is possible to create the models of alien species invasion risks to the territory of European Russia.


Title : Recent introductions of species of warm affinities in the SE Iberian Peninsula (Western Mediterranean).
by A.A. Ramos-Esplá, Izquierdo A., Rubio, E., Giménez-Casalduero F.
CIMAR, Univ. Alicante, Spain

Summary :
The SE-Iberian sector (around 575km shoreline) represents one of the warmer western Mediterranean areas (range surface TºC: 13-28), and little known. The presence of warm affinities species (as vagrants, thermophilous or lessepsian) has been increased from the decade of the 70s. In this period (1973), some introduced species (Oculina patagonica, Bostrycapulus odites, Microcosmus squamiger) were observed in the port of Alicante, the probable vector outside the maritime traffic were noted. In the decades of the 80s and 90s, the chlorophytes Penicillus capitatus stadio Spera (1986; E. Ballesteros, pers. comm.) and Caulerpa racemosa (1999; obs auth.); and the fishes Sphaeroides pachygaster (1983) and Parapristimoma octolineatus (1988; Bayle, pers comm..). However, it has been in the last decade when it has detected a further increase of introduced species of both Atlantic-tropical origin as Indo-Pacific, including: the brachiuran Percnon gibbesi (2002; obs. auth.); the pufferfishes Sphoeroides marmoratus (Mendiola, 2005) and Lagocephalus sceleratus (2014, obs. auth.); the polychaetes Branchiomma luctuosum (2006, obs. auth.), B. boholense (2007,. Roman et al, 2009) along with the fireworm Hermodice carunculata (2011); and the lessepsian molluscs Bursatella leachi (2009, obs. auth.) and Fulvia fragilis (2009).


Title : Invasive processes in phytoplankton based on research in the northeastern Black Sea.
by V.A Silkin, Pautova L.A., Abakumov A.I.
Russian Academy of Science, Russia

Summary :
For the north-eastern part of the Black three main seasons was found: Spring, presented small cell diatoms (Pseudonitzschia pseudodelicatissima, Chaetoceros curvisetus); complex late spring, early summer coccolithophore Emiliania huxleyi) and summer-autumn complex represented mainly by large cells diatoms (Proboscia alata, Pseudosolenia calcar-avis). In the spring complex species are selected with a maximum specific growth rate. The complex late spring, early summer benefit species must have the lowest growth limiting concentrations of nitrogen or phosphorus (principle of R-competition, Tilman, 1977). In summer and autumn the complex the species with maximal cell quota of limiting nutrients are selected. These complexes are selected during the long evolution of the sear and remain virtually unchanged. In order for them to change needs a significant shift in the ecosystem of the sea such as eutrophication, an increase in temperature. During the decade of observation was not detected a change of dominant species, recorded only a shift in time.
To predict fixing invasive species in the subdominant complex use of the above principle is not enough. This future subdominant species should be paired with the dominant species, wherein in the stationary state, these species must have different limiting nutrients. It is sufficient to observe certain minimum quotas ratio (Silkin, Khailov, 1988). During our studies appearance of invasive species as a subdominant in the complex late spring - early summer 2005-2006 was noted when the dominant species was coccolithophore Emiliania huxleyi. This species was small cell diatom Chaetoceros throndsenii. It was recorded in almost all the way from the coast to the center of the sea. In experimental studies the growth characteristics of this species have revealed and the ratio of minimum quotas was estimated. Computational experiments confirmed that this coccolithophore and invasive species can be a couple, while in invasin species is not likely to become dominant in the existing conditions.


Title : Enrichment of the Impoverished or Encroachment of the Native: Implications of the New Suez Canal Project
by Tarek A. Temraz
Suez Canal Univ., Ismailia, Egypt

Summary :
The new Suez Canal Project created continuous debate since being launched earlier this year. The implication of this project will extend beyond introducing new alien species into the Mediterranean but it will affect biodiversity and several ecosystem services. Studies of the invasive species focused mainly on species inventory and updating the newly introduced list but ignoring the driving factors behind the introduction process. Along the Egyptian coast of the Mediterranean a positive stocking rate in fisheries was recorded for the alien species Scomberomorus commerson and collectively Siganus spp together with space availability and non-competing behavior between the native and the introduced species within the same family such as Siganidae and Synodontidae. During the past five years a community based involvement in recording alien species expand the list of migrated organisms to include Fistularia commersonii, Nemipterus randalli, Pempheris vanicolensis, Lagocephalus sceleratus, Parupeneus forsskali, Scorpaena notata, and Parexocaetus mento. The factors governing the migration across the Suez Canal will be conferred and its implication on potential fish migrants. The expansion project of the Suez Canal will be elaborated and the potential impacts will be highlighted. Gaps in the current knowledge of potential fish migrants into the Levant will be addressed.
Key Words:
Invasive species, Suez Canal, Lessepsian migration, Mediterranean