How Climate Change Will Amplify the Spread of Invasive Species

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Climate Change impacts Oceans shipping routes enable spread of invasive species

Every human activity impacts the ocean in some way. As much as we rely on our oceans for food, fuel, trade, and transportation, we are also damaging and polluting our oceans with our daily activities (Humans and How We Impact, 2022).

A paper, “Double trouble: the implications of climate change for biological invasions”, published in October 2020, shows that the impacts of human activity on our oceans, specifically on marine life, are happening rapidly and getting more extensive.

Climate change is accelerating the invasions of alien species, causing them to move elsewhere and threatening the survival of native species. As 90% of the world trade occurs via shipping, it will be the primary vessel and pathway to move invasive species to other parts of the world.

The changing climate will make marine invasions less predictable. The processes and patterns that underpinned infestation in the past are no longer applicable to what is happening today and in the future.

Climate change will also shift shipping routes, according to the study. The melting of the Arctic icecap will open a new course in the north pole for 5% of the shipping lines to use, allowing more connectivity between Europe and Asia and reducing transit times by up to 40%.

But this new shipping route will have two implications. First, the mixture of European and Asian marine species will increase, and second, the shorter transit times will enhance the survival of the transported species.

Increased tourism and trade will also increase the volume of invasive species transported and introduced to different regions.

The survival and spread of invasive and native species will also depend on how each one could adapt well to the shifting climates and for the invasive species to its new environment and its interaction with the native species. Lack of predation and competition in the new environment will allow invasive species to thrive and spread.

The study also presents knowledge gaps that could be explored to further the understanding of how climate change will affect biological invasions which include how alien species could go unrecognised, history traits of invasive species, species ranges are often not georeferenced or routinely monitored, and Physiological tolerances of native and alien species.

To read the entire paper, we provided a link in the “Source” below.


Humans & How We Impact the Ocean. American Oceans. Retrieved from

Robinson TB, Martin N, Loureiro TG, Matikinca P, Robertson MP (2020) Double trouble: the implications of climate change for biological invasions. In: Wilson JR, Bacher S, Daehler CC, Groom QJ, Kumschick S, Lockwood JL, Robinson TB, Zengeya TA, Richardson DM. NeoBiota 62: 463-487.

Alien species are moving across oceans faster: climate change will accelerate this. (2022 June 8). The Conversation. Retrieved from

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