The objective of both activities was for professionals and students linked to marine sciences to obtain tools to recognize and detect non-native organisms that could become invasive species.

As part of the activities of the XLII Congress of Marine Sciences, held in Puerto Montt, a workshop and a symposium were held under the theme of “Invasive Marine Species of Chile.” Both activities were co-organized by Erasmo Macaya Horta, a phycologist at the Center for Dynamic Research in High Latitude Marine Ecosystems (IDEAL) and the Algae Studies Laboratory (AlgaLAB), and had the collaboration of researchers David Jofré and Martin Thiel, from the Universidad Católica del Norte, Paulina Gebauer, researcher at the i~mar Center, and Kurt Paschke, associate researcher at the IDEAL Center.

Regarding the relevance of both training instances, Macaya highlighted that “invasive species usually have negative effects on local communities, reduce local biodiversity in many cases, displace native biodiversity and can also have a significant economic impact. In this way, the study and monitoring of the coastal zone, as well as the knowledge of local species, allows the detection of these invasive organisms. It has been shown that the earlier these species are identified, the more successful they can be in their eradication or containment.”

Researchers who work on topics such as the ecology of invasive marine species, the development of monitoring and prevention strategies and the legal framework for the management of these organisms in our country met during the symposium, and presented studies on invertebrates and non-native algae species, ecological interactions with native species, and the use of ecological niche models, to identify and predict the expansion risk. Likewise, ways to carry out monitoring and management programs aimed at reducing the risk of introduction and expansion of invasive marine species were analyzed.

In addition, the practical workshop consisted of an activity where sampling was carried out in the field for the collection of fouling (encrusting communities) and flora and fauna of rocky communities, and then in laboratories to carry out the recognition and identification of biodiversity, focused mainly on non-native marine species.

“The idea is that a greater number of professionals and students linked to marine sciences have the tools that allow them to recognize and detect non-native organisms that can constitute invasive species,” explained Macaya. Among the lessons learned is the use of Inaturalist (, which consists of an app and website dedicated to the observation of biodiversity, where anyone can record photographs or sounds, which are corroborated by specialists in the area.

This platform also makes it possible to identify some species, contribute data for scientific research and generate own projects to follow, recognize and learn more about a particular group of organisms. “In fact, the researchers have created a project that gathers the observations on invasive marine species in our country. This currently has more than 500 records,” said Macaya.

Regarding upcoming activities related to invasive species, the IDEAL Center researcher pointed out that on Friday, July 7, a new face-to-face practical workshop will be held at the Faculty of Marine Sciences of the Universidad Católica del Norte, where he hopes, together with his team, to continue deepening in the formation of this topic.