Emodnet-Arctic

Established Alien Species in the Arctic

The species most likely to be established in the Arctic region (based on published data and the number of observations) include various phyla and organism types (Crustaceans, Bryozoans, Fish, Macroalgae, Molluscs, Nematodes, phytoplankton, plants and polychaetes). Most of these species were introduced via ballast water or hull fouling, with a few associated with fisheries and aquaculture. Data are not always clear about definite establishment. Table 1 provides details on the species considered established in the Arctic. Species were considered established when a species was recorded more than five times within a country in GBIF.

Possible distributions and range extensions
Shipping, the main vector for introduction, may increase the chances and speed of range extension within the Arctic. However, the temperature ranges for the aliens species (see Table 1) suggest that all established species have the potential to survive and disperse naturally in the Arctic region.

Habitats potentially sensitive to colonisation by alien species
Species introduced by hull fouling or aquaculture are most likely adapted to colonise hard substrate habitats. This accounts as well for hard substrate species introduced in a larval form in ballast water, and macroalgae that require a hard surface for attachment, such as rocky shores or harbour constructions.

Planktonic organisms occur in the water column and are most likely introduced via the release of ballast water. These organisms are most likely to establish in areas to which they are carried by the water current, particularly in bays and inlets where the water velocity decreases and plankton can build up.

Potential ecological impact
Many alien species are likely to have negligible effect on the Arctic ecosystem due to low reproduction rates in cold temperatures or simply that they do not play a large role in the native ecological community. However some species may affect single or multiple native species in the area.

Species with a ‘single species impact’ may impact a particular native species through predation or competition for food or other resources. These effects will likely remain limited as the ecological system is likely to continue functioning without much change.

Species with a ‘multi-species impact’ may have larger ecological impacts by causing cascading effects through the food web by replacing a food source through competition or increasing predation pressure. Species with a multi-species impact may also be ecosystem engineers that influence the physical habitat of the area by, for example, changing the substrate type (e.g. from soft sediment to shellfish beds or algae carpet). The changes an ecosystem engineer makes to a habitat may render the area no longer habitable for the resident native species, or they may increase the habitability of the area for species who previously did not, or barely occurred there. In this way ecological engineers can result in disrupting the ecological system in the area.

Potential economic impact
The only information about the economic impact of the establish alien species in the Arctic refer to the impact the species may have on the fishery or aquaculture industry. These species may increase the predation or competition pressure on the cultivated species; build up on equipment, or smother cultivated shellfish; or they may simply grow among the cultivated species, thereby increasing the effort and maintenance necessary, making the industry less profitable.

Organism Type Group Species Observed in Vector Introduction Potential dispersal vector Temperature Range Potential Impact
Bryozoa Bryozoa Schizoporella unicornis Svalbard and Jan Mayen Ballast water; ship fouling; aquaculture Hull fouling 7-19 °C Multiple species impact
Crustacean Amphipoda Crassicorophium bonellii Russia   Hull fouling 3 - 17 °C  
Crustacean Amphipoda Gammarus cf. zaddachi Norway   Ballast water    
Crustacean Amphipoda Jassa marmorata Svalbard and Jan Mayen Hull fouling Hull fouling -2 - 27 °C Multi-species impact (ecosystem engineer - creator of novel habitat)
Crustacean Cladocera Acantholeberis curvirostris Norway Ship fouling Hull fouling    
Crustacean Cladocera Evadne nordmanni Russia Ballast water Ballast water 1-25 °C  
Crustacean Copepoda Acartia clausii Iceland Norway Russia Ballast water Ballast water    
Crustacean Copepoda Anomalocera patersoni Norway Ballast water Ballast water 6.6 - 18.9 °C  
Crustacean Copepoda Calanus helgolandicus Iceland Norway Ballast water Ballast water -0.77 - 24.7 °C  
Crustacean Copepoda Centropages hamatus Iceland Russia Ballast water Ballast water -0.9 - 23.6 °C  
Crustacean Copepoda Oithona similis CA Greenland Norway Russia Svalbard and Jan Mayen United States Ballast water Ballast water -1.9 - 25.9 °C  
Crustacean Copepoda Pseudocalanus minutus Russia United States Ballast water Ballast water -1.9 - 19.3 °C  
Crustacean Copepoda Pseudocalanus newmani Russia United States Ballast water Ballast water -1.9 - 19.3 °C  
Crustacean Copepoda Temora longicornis Iceland Norway Russia Ballast water Ballast water -0.9 - 16.5 °C  
Crustacean Decapoda Cancer pagurus Norway Ballast water Ballast water    
Crustacean Decapoda Carcinus maenas Norway Ballast water; aquaculture Ballast water 0 - 33 °C Single species impact; multiple species impact
Crustacean Decapoda Chionoecetes opilio Svalbard United States Ballast water; Hull fouling -1 - 10 °C  
Crustacean Decapoda Paralithodes camtschaticus Norway Fisheries   -1.7 - 11 °C Multiple species impact; affects entire ecosystem functioning; effect on fisheries
Fish Fish Esox lucius Norway Sweden Fisheries   1 - 29 °C Single species impact; multiple species impact; affects entire ecosystem functioning; effect on fisheries
Fish Fish Oncorhynchus mykiss Norway Sweden Aquaculture   0-25 °C Single species impact; multiple species impact; effect on aquaculture
Fish Fish Platichthys flesus Norway Drift; Shipping   5 - 25 °C Multiple species impact
Fish Fish Salvelinus fontinalis Norway, Sweden Aquaculture   ? - 25 °C Multiple species impact; impact on species with high conservation value; affects entire ecosystem functioning
Macroalgae Macroalgae Bonnemaisonia hamifera Norway Probably introduced unintentionally with shellfish or in the hull fouling of vessels. Secondary spread occurs by drift with water currents or attachment to floating objects (hooks enable entanglement).   -1 - 29 °C Multi-species impact (It may become the dominant alga in certain regions competing with other algae and seagrasses)
Macroalgae Macroalgae Codium fragile Norway The vector to Europe is unknown; secondary dispersal was by movement of shellfish for mariculture, transport on ship hulls and net fouling.   Though a warm temperate species with temperature optimum at 24 °C, growth and reproduction are still possible at 12 °C, adults can survive winter temperature of -2 °C. Economical (It fouls shellfish beds, smothering mussels and scallops, clogging scallop dredges, and interfering with harvesting. It fouls fishing nets, wharf pilings and jetties. It causes a nuisance to humans when it is swept ashore and rots); Ecological (It alters benthic communities and habitats, its dense fronds hinder movement of large invertebrates and fish along the bottom, and increases sedimentation.)
Macroalgae Macroalgae Chroodactylon ornatum Norway Sweden Oyster aquaculture transports; hull fouling; ballast water Hull fouling    
Macroalgae Macroalgae Dumontia contorta Iceland Norway        
Macroalgae Macroalgae Fucus cottonii Norway Ballast water; ship fouling Dry ballast and hull fouling    
Macroalgae Macroalgae Fucus serratus Iceland Norway       Multi-species impact (when established, F. serratus becomes dominant by forming a canopy cover in the lower part of the shore, reducing or eliminating the cover of other canopy forming algae)
Mollusc Mollusc Cerastoderma edule Norway Ballast water; drift Ballast water 7 - 34 °C  
Mollusc Mollusc Mya arenaria Norway Ballast water Ballast water (as larvae) 1 - 28 °C Single species impact
Mollusc Mollusc Mytilus galloprovincialis Svalbard Ballast water Ballast water   Multiple species impact; ecosystem engineer - creator of novel habitat; effect on aquaculture
Nematoda Nematoda Axonolaimidae Norway Svalbard and Jan Mayen Ballast water Ballast water    
Phytoplankton Phytoplankton Heterosigma akashiwo Russia Ballast water   -1.9 - 15 °C Single species impact
Plant Plant Cotula coronopifolia Norway Sweden Range extension due to climate change; birds   ~ -10 - 30 °C Multiple species impact; ecosystem engineer - creator of novel habitat
Polychaeta Polychaeta Heteromastus filiformis Greenland Norway Ballast water; ship fouling Ballast water and hull fouling -1.7 - 26.8 °C  
Polychaeta Polychaeta Scolelepis foliosa Norway Svalbard and Jan Mayen Ballast water Ballast water -1.5 - 16 °C  
Polychaeta Polychaeta Scolelepis korsuni Norway Ballast water Ballast water -1.5 - 16 °C  
Polychaeta Polychaeta Scolelepis tridentata Norway Ballast water Ballast water -1.5 - 16 °C  
Polychaeta Polychaeta Spiophanes kroyeri Greenland Svalbard and Jan Mayen Ballast water Ballast water -0.9 - 17.2 °C