The Centre for Ecology & Hydrology’s (CEH) Professor Helen Roy is this week highlighting the role citizen science and international information sharing can play in advancing research on invasion ecology at a British Ecological Society symposium on the macroecology of alien species.

Homepage from the Asian Hornet Watch appProfessor Roy, who was chair of an EU-funded COST Action Alien Challenge which involved 31 countries in ensuring a fair exchange of high quality and reliable data and information on invasive non-native species, is sharing her expertise at the event being held at Durham University today (Tuesday) and Wednesday 26 July 2017.

She is also joined by other CEH ecologists who are sharing their knowledge and expertise at the event. These include Dr Dan Chapman, Louise Barwell and Jodey Peyton.

The symposium brings together a broad range of international and UK-based invasion ecologists and macroecologists – working on many taxonomic groups – to develop a global understanding of alien species distribution.

Invasive non-native species cost the world billions of dollars each year, threatening biodiversity as well as human health and the way ecosystems work. While ecologists understand how and why alien plant and animal species spread, a global picture across different organisms and ecosystems is lacking.

It will be discussed at the symposium how an international team of scientists found that during the last 200 years, the number of new established alien species has grown continuously worldwide, with 37% of all first introductions reported between 1970 and 2014.

Professor Roy, an ecologist at CEH, said, "Biological invasions are large-scale processes and cross-boundary collaborations ensuring knowledge on invasive non-native species is shared between countries is essential to advance understanding and enable successful implementation of strategies to manage them.

"Species inventories are recognised as critical for the management of biological invasions, informing horizon scanning and surveillance, and underpinning prevention, control and elimination of invasive non-native species.

"Cross-boundary collaborations ensuring knowledge on invasive non-native species is shared between countries is essential to advance understanding and enable successful implementation of strategies to manage them." Professor Helen Roy, CEH

"There have been major developments in the availability of high quality data on invasive non-native species and at the symposium I hope to provide an overview of ways in which this information has been used to inform science, policy and ultimately conservation."

Recently, a team of CEH scientists including Professor Roy collaborated with the UK government to develop a new app to record and monitor sightings of the Asian hornet. The team developed the Asian Hornet Watch app as part of a GB Non-native Species Alert System to help protect biodiversity.

See the presentation which Professor Roy made to the symposium:

Additional information

Details of the British Ecology Society symposium: The macroecology of alien species

Staff page of Professor Helen Roy

Staff page of Dr Daniel Chapman

Staff page of Jodey Peyton

Some of the issues discussed at the symposium were explored in a Guardian news article: Alien species invasions and global warming a 'deadly duo'

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