Biological invasions by non-indigenous species (NIS) is considered one of the greatest environmental and economic threats, and a leading cause of biodiversity loss at a global scale. In the marine system, biological invasions are largely concentrated in coastal communities, where the rate of detected invasions has significantly increased in recent years. Most marine invasions have resulted from commercial shipping, resulting from the unintentional transfer of large numbers of animal and plant species in ballast water and hull fouling.
Research at MARE-Madeira is integrated in a timely manner with the cutting edge of questions and hypotheses now being posed in invasion science, particularly in island systems: what phenomena control the success of invasive species? What processes influence the persistence of non-indigenous species over space and time?
By implementing field studies, mesocosm experiments, and integrating collaborative projects in Madeira and Macaronesia, MARE-Madeira seeks to contribute to unlock these phenomena and processes. This will allow greater predictive power over where and which species will invade these islands, and which species will persist and even flourish, producing the much-needed and critical tools for environmental managers seeking to reduce or prevent invasions of new exotic species.