Aquatic invasive species are a major threat to biodiversity, but also the economy. One of the factors facilitating their spread is the construction of canals that connect two previously separated seas. In our paper, we quantified for the first time the economic costs of invasive species facilitated by the three globally most important canals (Suez, Panama, and European Inland Canals) using the most comprehensive database on the economic costs of invasive alien species worldwide (InvaCost).
Despite the high number of invasive species listed to have been facilitated in their introduction and spread by these canals, only for five of them economic costs were reported: the fishhook waterflea Cercopagis pengoi and the zebra mussel Dreissena polymorpha for the European Inland Canals, and the silver-cheeked toadfish Lagocephalus sceleratus, the lionfish Pterois miles, and the nomad jellyfish Rhopilema nomadica for the Suez Canal. However, these species alone accounted for a total cost of $42.2 million ($33.6 for European Inland Canals and $8.6 for Suez, while no costs were reported for the Panama Canal). Considering the high number of ecologically problematic invasive species spreading in these regions, it is obvious that their socioeconomic damage remains almost entirely unknown.
More detailed information can be found in the original article: Balzani, P., Cuthbert, R.N., Briski, E., Galil, B., Castellanos-Galindo, G.A., Kouba, A., Kourantidou, M., Leung, B., Soto, I., Haubrock, P.J., 2022. Knowledge needs in economic costs of invasive species facilitated by canalisation. NeoBiota 78, 207–223. https://doi.org/10.3897/neobiota.78.95050.
Written by: Paride Balzani, Ph.D.
Photo source: EVER_GIVEN_(49643352087).jpg (2934×1640) (wikimedia.org)