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At 750 the number of recorded multicellular non indigenous species (NIS) in the Mediterranean Sea is far higher than in other European Seas: nearly triple the number of records known from the western European coastline from Norway to Portugal, and between 1970 and 2015, the number has grown by 215%. Of these, 450 were introduced through the Suez Canal, the balance are mostly ship and culture-introductions.

Anything can happen underwater, and even gardens are not necessarily composed of plants. In fact, one of the most beautiful habitats in the Mediterranean are coralligenous gardens, where trees are replaced by soft corals (gorgonians) and flowers give way to calcareous red algae and animals such as sponges and bryozoans. These wondrous places support a high biodiversity, and steps are now being taken to better protect them.

Today is the International Day of Women and Girls in Science,  and we don’t want to miss this opportunity to thank the women of Oceana who work so hard every day for the ocean. Marine scientists, biologists… whatever their academic specialisation, they spend their working days sailing, analysing underwater footage, reviewing documents, scrutinising data, drafting proposals, writing papers, attending seminars, debating with politicians, discussing with fishers, campaigning at international fora, giving media interviews and many other things that are too much for a single paragraph.

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