Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Bioinvasion on the rise

15.02.2017

Study with participation from Konstanz shows: the rates of alien species introduction worldwide are higher than ever

The number of alien species is continuously increasing, and does not show any sign of saturation at a global level. This fact was described by an international team of 45 researchers, among them the Konstanz ecologist Professor Mark van Kleunen, in the renowned expert journal "Nature Communications". They found that during the last centuries the number of new introductions has continuously increased worldwide, with more than a third of all first introductions recorded between 1970 and 2014.


The rose-ringed parakeet is native to parts of Africa and Asia. It was introduced as an ornamental species and has established populations at various sites in Europe, North America and Australia.

Photo: Tim M. Blackburn, University College London


The eastern grey squirrel, originally from North America, was introduced to various locations worldwide, including the UK, where it has largely displaced the native red squirrel.

Photo: Tim M. Blackburn, University College London

"It had remained unclear whether or not the accumulation of alien species has already reached a point of slow-down", says Dr Hanno Seebens from the Senckenberg Biodiversity and Climate Research Centre (BiK-F) in Frankfurt, Germany.

The first author of the study has an answer now: “For all groups of organisms on all continents, the number of alien species has increased continuously during the last 200 years. For most groups, even the rate of introduction is highest recently. Barring mammals and fishes, there are no signs of a slow-down and we have to expect more new invasions in the near future.”

Mark van Kleunen, professor of ecology at the University of Konstanz and one of the co-authors of the study, expects that the number of alien species will increase further in the near future – "as a consequence of climate change, which makes it possible for many alien plants in our gardens to jump the fence and settle in the wild".

In the joint research project the researchers established a database of the date an alien species was first detected in a region outside the species’ native range. Using more than 45.000 of these first records of more than 16.000 alien species, they analysed the development of alien species accumulation during the last centuries.

The researchers found that 37% of all recorded alien species have been introduced in the last few decades between 1970-2014. At its peak, 585 new species were recorded within one year. This corresponds to more than 1.5 new alien species per day globally. "As the date of first record is not available for most alien species, these numbers are clearly underestimating the full extent of alien species introductions", says Dr. Franz Essl from the University of Vienna, Austria, senior author of the study.

The trends of increase vary among taxonomic groups, which can be attributed to human activities. “We observe a distinct increase in first record rates of vascular plants in the 19th century, probably as a result of the intensification of horticulture. The rates of new introductions of other organisms such as algae, molluscs or insects increased steeply after 1950. This is most likely a consequence of the ongoing globalisation of trade,” explains Seebens, who earned his doctorate at the Limnological Institute of the University of Konstanz in 2008.

The unprecedented increase in alien species numbers can have extremely negative impacts on native ecosystems, as native plants might be eliminated and entire ecosystems change. Floras and faunas worldwide assimilate more and more, resulting in a loss of regional variety. Therefore various legislations are currently in force globally attempting to mitigate the introduction of new alien species. "However, our results show that the past efforts have not been effective enough to keep up with ongoing globalisation. There is an urgent need to implement more effective prevention policies at all scales", concludes Essl.

Facts:

  • 37% of all recorded alien species have been introduced in the last few decades between 1970-2014
  • Creation of a database containing the date an alien species was first detected in a region outside its native range
  • List of more than 45.000 first records of more than 16.000 alien species
  • The Senckenberg Gesellschaft für Naturforschung (SGN), founded in 1817, is a non-profit organisation with headquarters in Frankfurt am Main and member of the Leibniz Association.


Original Publication:
Seebens et al.: No saturation in the accumulation of alien species worldwide. Nature Communications 8:14435 | DOI: 10.1038/ncomms14435

Note to editors:
You can download photos here:

https://cms.uni-konstanz.de/fileadmin/pi/fileserver/Bilder/13.2.2017/Grey_squirr...
Caption:
The eastern grey squirrel, originally from North America, was introduced to various locations worldwide, including the UK, where it has largely displaced the native red squirrel.
Photo: Tim M. Blackburn, University College London

https://cms.uni-konstanz.de/fileadmin/pi/fileserver/Bilder/13.2.2017/Rose-ringed...
Caption:
The rose-ringed parakeet is native to parts of Africa and Asia. It was introduced as an ornamental species and has established populations at various sites in Europe, North America and Australia.
Photo: Tim M. Blackburn, University College London

https://cms.uni-konstanz.de/fileadmin/pi/fileserver/Bilder/13.2.2017/Phytolacca_...
Caption:
A large population of American pokeweed (Phytolacca americana) in Hungary. This toxic plant is native to North America and was grown for ornamental and medicinal purpose in Europe.
Photo: Petr Pyšek, The Czech Academy of Sciences

https://cms.uni-konstanz.de/fileadmin/pi/fileserver/Bilder/13.2.2017/Lupinus_pol...
Caption:
The many-leaved lupine (Lupinus polyphyllus) is extensively used in mountain hay meadows in the The Katzbach Mountains in Poland. In Europe, this species has been planted as a fodder crop and as an ornamental, and is now widely naturalized.
Photo: Barbara Tokarska-Guzik, University of Silesia in Katowice, Poland, 2016.

Contact
University of Konstanz
Communications and Marketing
Phone: + 49 7531 88-3603
E-Mail: kum@uni-konstanz.de

Julia Wandt | idw - Informationsdienst Wissenschaft
Further information:
http://www.uni-konstanz.de

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht How does the loss of species alter ecosystems?
18.05.2017 | Deutsches Zentrum für integrative Biodiversitätsforschung (iDiv) Halle-Jena-Leipzig

nachricht Excess diesel emissions bring global health & environmental impacts
16.05.2017 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Turmoil in sluggish electrons’ existence

An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.

We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...

Im Focus: Wafer-thin Magnetic Materials Developed for Future Quantum Technologies

Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.

Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...

Im Focus: World's thinnest hologram paves path to new 3-D world

Nano-hologram paves way for integration of 3-D holography into everyday electronics

An Australian-Chinese research team has created the world's thinnest hologram, paving the way towards the integration of 3D holography into everyday...

Im Focus: Using graphene to create quantum bits

In the race to produce a quantum computer, a number of projects are seeking a way to create quantum bits -- or qubits -- that are stable, meaning they are not much affected by changes in their environment. This normally needs highly nonlinear non-dissipative elements capable of functioning at very low temperatures.

In pursuit of this goal, researchers at EPFL's Laboratory of Photonics and Quantum Measurements LPQM (STI/SB), have investigated a nonlinear graphene-based...

Im Focus: Bacteria harness the lotus effect to protect themselves

Biofilms: Researchers find the causes of water-repelling properties

Dental plaque and the viscous brown slime in drainpipes are two familiar examples of bacterial biofilms. Removing such bacterial depositions from surfaces is...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

AWK Aachen Machine Tool Colloquium 2017: Internet of Production for Agile Enterprises

23.05.2017 | Event News

Dortmund MST Conference presents Individualized Healthcare Solutions with micro and nanotechnology

22.05.2017 | Event News

Innovation 4.0: Shaping a humane fourth industrial revolution

17.05.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Scientists propose synestia, a new type of planetary object

23.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Zap! Graphene is bad news for bacteria

23.05.2017 | Life Sciences

Medical gamma-ray camera is now palm-sized

23.05.2017 | Medical Engineering

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>