As we leave the Mediterranean Sea at the end of the summer, we look at the rapid changes wrought on its biota. Our favorite seaside may be undergoing major upheaval by the time we return. A recent spate of records of lionfish from Israel, Lebanon, Cyprus Turkey, Greece and Tunisia serves as clear evidence of a major population explosion.
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.