Climate Change in the Pacific Region
Pacific Region

Marine Invasive Species in the Pacific Northwest

Coastal ecosystems are vulnerable to a host of invasive species due to non-local ship traffic, associated ballast water from these ships, and other pathways. The increase of invasive species risks due to climate change includes a variety of factors.  Invasive species typically have a broader climate tolerance and larger geographic ranges, and other characteristics that favor rapid range shifts that would be hastened by changing climatic conditions.  Also climate change may alter transport and introduction mechanisms, establish new invasive species, alter the impact of existing invasive species, and other risk factors.

Diez and co-authors (see below) emphasize that an increase in extreme climatic events and disturbance facilitates biological invasions. The authors find that that these events often influence invasions through increased movements of non-native species and decreased biotic resistance of native communities to invader establishment, but specific outcomes depend on the ecosystem and type of event.


Learn more and read about the research that provided the information above by checking out the links below:

Diez, J, D’Antonio, C.M., Dukes, J.S., Grosholz, E.D., Olden, J.D., Sorte, C. JB., Blumenthal, D.M., Bradley, B.A., Early, R., Ibáñez, I., Jones, S.J.,  Lawler, J.J., and L. P. Miller.  2012.  Will Extreme Climatic Events Facilitate Biological Invasions? Front Ecol Environ 2012; 10(5): 249–257, doi:10.1890/110137

Hellman, J.J., Prior, K.M., Pelini, S.L.  2012.  The influence of species interactions on geographic range change under climate change . Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences Issue: The Year in Ecology and Conservation Biology ISSN 0077-8923 

Rahel, F.J., and Olden, J.D. , 2008, Assessing the effects of climate change on aquatic invasive species. Conserv. Biol. 22(3): 521–533. doi:10.1111/j.1523-1739.2008.00950.x. PMID:18577081.
Vose, James M.; Peterson, David L.; Patel-Weynand, Toral, eds. 2012. Effects of climatic variability and change on forest ecosystems: a comprehensive science synthesis for the U.S. forest sector. Gen. Tech. Rep. PNW-GTR-870. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station. 265 p.

Willis CG, Ruhfel BR, Primack RB, Miller-Rushing AJ, Losos JB, et al., 2010, Favorable Climate Change Response Explains Non-Native Species’ Success in Thoreau’s Woods. PLoS ONE 5(1): e8878.





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Last updated: September 12, 2013

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