Inshore waters of European coasts have accumulated a high share of non-indigenous species, where a changeable palaeoenvironment has caused low diversity in indigenous biota. Also strongly transformed modern coastal ecosystems seem to assimilate whatever species have been introduced and tolerate the physical regime. Adding non-native species does not have any directional predetermined effects on recipient coastal ecosystems. The status of being a non-native rather refers to a position in evolutionary history than qualify as an ecological category with distinct and consistent properties. Effects of invaders vary between habitats and with the phase of invasion and also with shifting ambient conditions. Although aliens accelerate change in European coastal biota, we found no evidence that they generally impair biodiversity and ecosystem functioning. More often, invaders expand ecosystem functioning by adding new ecological traits, intensifying existing ones and increasing functional redundancy.