Defining Damage in Invasion Biology

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Alan Burdick
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Invasion biology is a recently developed field and faces many challenges in quantifying damage and determining adequate management strategies. These challenges are most evident in marine invasive species. Marine species have been transported around the world since the onset of maritime travel centuries ago. This was long before anyone was studying marine biology or invasion biology. Three case studies, including the European Green Crab, Common Periwinkle, and Lionfish invasions, help to illustrate the difficulties involved in understanding and managing invasions. Though invasive species are defined by the damage they cause, the problem is more complex than this implies. Once these species are established, it is nearly impossible to remove them. Subsequently, viewing them as an affliction that must be exterminated loses merit. Furthermore, the damage already done to marine environments should be better incorporated into the framework of marine invasion biology if we are to limit the ongoing homogenization of oceans.