What is it about?

Tropical Atlantic species may re-enter the Mediterranean Sea, as happened 135 to 116 years ago, during the so-called "Last Interglacial", the latest warm period before the present. Global warming will render the waters the north-west African coast warmer, allowing such species now confined to the tropical belt to extend their distribution north. Such a prediction may be realized already by 2050 under an intermediate greenhouse gas emission scenario.

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Why is it important?

The Mediterranean Sea is already invaded by hundreds of species of Indo-Pacific origin entered via the Suez Canal. A new wave of species coming from the tropical Atlantic would contribute to irreversibly change the biodiversity of the basin in a way unprecedented in human history.


My research is more and more about understanding and predicting how global warming will change our oceans, and the Mediterranean Sea in particular. This basin witnessed the onset of some of the oldest civilizations and here societies. The changes ahead will profoundly modify not only the biological components, but also ecosystem services such as provisioning and cultural value that characterized the connection between humans and the sea since pre-historical times.

Paolo Albano
Stazione Zoologica Anton Dohrn

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: The dawn of the tropical Atlantic invasion into the Mediterranean Sea, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, April 2024, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences,
DOI: 10.1073/pnas.2320687121.
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