LIAE Senior Researcher Solvita Strāķe about non-indigenous species in the Baltic Sea and their impact on local biodiversity
Unwanted guests in the Baltic Sea
LIAE Senior Researcher Solvita Strāķe talks to the newspaper “Diena” about non-indigenous aquatic species and their impact on local biodiversity. The Ponto-Caspian basin (Black Sea, Sea of Azov, Caspian Sea) is one of the main donor regions of non-indigenous species that arrive to the Baltic Sea. The seas are connected by a complex system of rivers and canals, with the Volga-Baltic waterway being one of the main entry routes for non-indigenous aquatic species. Species living in the Ponto-Caspian basin are able to adapt much more rapidly to changing salinity conditions and are therefore more successful colonizers than species from other regions. In the Baltic Sea the most common species arriving from the Ponto-Caspian region are amphipods, but the best-known is the round goby.
On the other hand, several species of crabs that have settled in the Baltic Sea originate from the East Asian region (the coasts of China, Korea, Japan), the most famous of which is the Chinese mitten crab. The complex life cycle of crabs, which includes spending a certain life stages in both fresh and salt water, has allowed them to successfully adapt to life in the Baltic Sea as well.
The full “Diena” article is available here (in Latvian):“Nelūgtie ciemiņi Baltijas jūrā“.