Survey of alien Indo-Pacific seaweeds and seagrasses along the Israeli Mediterranean coast

Hundreds of alien marine organisms invaded the Mediterranean Sea during the 20th century and this process still continues until today. These species arrived due to anthropocentric activities such as: the opening of the Suez Canal, shipping, aquaculture, etc. Most of the alien marine organisms discovered so far in the Mediterranean originated from the Indian and the Pacific (IP) Ocean. Marine research dealing with non-indigenous species and their ecology has evolved over the years and it turned out that most alien species that invaded the Mediterranean colonized its eastern basin. It is expected that due global changes the eastern Mediterranean basin will become more suitable for species of tropical origin, with the prediction that additional species will invade and colonize this region. Nevertheless, the study of the state of marine IP-origin Flora along the Israeli Mediterranean has remained almost unknown until now, with few published paper representing some new records of alien IP seaweeds. The current project aims to 1) search and study alien IP seaweed and seagrass species along the Israeli Mediterranean coastal area and update the current checklist, 2) To map and revise the distribution of key and new alien species along the Israeli shore and 3) To assess their potential effects on the local marine Flora and Fauna. This information is crucial to manage marine natural resources of the area.