90% of all global trade is affected through our seas. Our increasing reliance on maritime trade has resulted in a greater endeavour to increase connectivity between different hubs and ports, mainly through the opening of canals and also through the commissioning of ever larger cargo carriers. Such a boost in maritime trade has also resulted in stowaways inadvertently hitching a hike on ships or by passively swimming through canals. This has resulted in an increasing number of new marine arrivals to busy waterways such as the Mediterranean, which is serviced by the newly-enlarged Suez Canal. Whilst many view these newcomers simply as esoteric additions to our marine assemblages, others are more cautious as the ecological impacts of some of these newcomers are revealed.
Prof. Alan Deidun is an Associate Professor within the Physical Oceanography Research Group within the Department of Geosciences at the University of Malta. He is currently involved in several areas of coastal and marine biology, and oceanography research, and is Project Manager at the University of Malta on a number of EU-funded projects. Through the PANACEA project, the first ever marine environmental education centre in the Maltese Islands was opened in Dwejra, Gozo, in March 2013. He has authored over 100 scientific papers and abstracts published in different academic journals and in conference proceedings. Prof. Deidun is also deeply involved in environmental advocacy, having penned a newspaper column for the past 14 years which in turn received for three times the local Environmental Journalism Award and other natural heritage journalism awards. In total, he has penned over 400 popular science and environmental advocacy articles in different local newspapers and magazines, and has participated in numerous TV and radio programmes over the course of the past 15 years