Whales, waste and sea walnuts: incorporating human impacts on the marine ecosystem within life cycle impact assessment
Marine invasive species are predominantly introduced through shipping (ballast water and hull fouling). At any given moment there are thousands of species that are being transported within the ballast water of ships. Some of these species may establish in new ecosystems and damage the native species through e.g. predation, competition or bioturbation. The scale of the problem may be bigger than we assume, since only 16% of marine ecoregions worldwide do not show an impact from invasive species (Molnar et al. 2008).
So far LCA is not taking impacts from marine invasive species into account. We will develop models for different impacts from invasive species distinguishing different impact pathways (e.g. via ballast water or rafting via plastic particles).
Molnar, J.L., Gamboa, R.L., Revenga, C., and Spalding, M.D. (2008): Assessing the global threat of invasive species to marine biodiversity. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment. 6(9): 485-492.