Updated list of alien macrozoobenthic species along the Syrian coast

Izdihar Ammar


Marine biodiversity along the Syrian coast is affected by climate change-related temperature increase leading to the migration and entrance of alien species, especially from the Suez Canal (biological invasion). The Syrian coast is chracterized by many different types of habitats, including marine caves, midilittoral bioconstructions (Lithophyllum byssoides rim and vermetid tarraces), coraligenous communities, sandy dunes, rocky coast and seagrass meadows. The present study summarizes early and most recent results on the presence, distribution, abundance and conservation status of marine alien species along the Syrian coast and provides an updated list of alien macrozoobenthic species. A total of 79 alien species belonging to Mollusca, Crustacea, Tunicata,  Polychaeta, Spongia, Echinodermata and Chaetognatha are reported; among them Gastropoda is being the most abundant and successful taxon. In the light of these results, some recommendations on future research directions are provided. In particular, more effort is needed to monitor and record the entrance of alien species by adopting a comprehensive national plan to study marine biodiversity and to protect local resources in the Syrian marine environment.




Marine biodiversity, Macrozoobenthos, Invasive alien species, Eastern Mediterranean Sea.

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