Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Globalisation burdens future generations with biological invasions

21.12.2010
The consequences of the current high levels of socio-economic activity on the extent of biological invasions will probably not be completely realized until decades into the future

A new study on biological invasions based on extensive data of alien species from 10 taxonomic groups and 28 European countries has shown that patterns of established alien species richness are more related to historical levels of socio-economic drivers than to contemporary ones.

An international group of 16 researchers reported the new finding this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS). The publication resulted from the three-year project DAISIE (Delivering Alien Invasive Inventory for Europe, www.europe-aliens.org), funded by European Union within its 6th Framework Programme.

Recent research has demonstrated that economic activities are among the most important determinants of biological invasions, fostering discussions about appropriate political strategies to prevent unintended introductions, e.g. in terms of trade regulations. Yet the frequent delay between first introduction of a species in a new territory and its establishment and spread suggest that invasions triggered by current economic behavior will possibly take a long time to become fully realized, causing what the researchers call an "invasion debt".

Taking an historical approach, this new study provides an explicit test of this phenomenon. The researchers selected three predictors of socio-economic activity linked to invasions - human population density, per capita GDP, and, as a measure of trade intensity (i.e. openness of an economy) the share of exports in GDP, and demonstrated that current alien species richness is better explained by socio-economic data from 1900 than from 2000. The strength of the historical signal varies among taxonomic groups with those possessing good capabilities for dispersal (birds, insects) more strongly associated with recent levels of socioeconomic drivers. Nevertheless, the results suggest a considerable historical legacy for the majority of the species groups analyzed.

"The broad taxonomic and geographic coverage indicates that such an ‘invasion debt' is a widespread phenomenon", says Franz Essl from the Austrian Environment Agency. "This inertia is worrying as it implies that current, increased levels of socio-economic activity will probably lead to continuously rising levels of invasion during the upcoming decades, even if new introductions could be successfully reduced", explains Stefan Dullinger from the University of Vienna.

Therefore, the scientists write "...the seeds of future invasion problems have already been sown" and they expect the problem of invasive species to become worse in the next few decades. They say that efforts to control invasive species should be expanded with a special focus on not only those species currently most harmful, but also on early warning and rapid response for species already in the territory that are likely to pose the greatest future threat.

Contacts:
Dr. Stefan Dullinger, University of Vienna, Austria and Vienna Institute for Nature Conservation Analysis

telephone 0043-1-4277-54379, fax 0043-1-4277-9575

Dr. Franz Essl, Environment Agency Austria, Austria
telephone: 0043-1-31304-3323, fax 0043-1-31304-3533
Dr. Ingolf Kühn, Helmholtz for Environmental Research (UFZ)
telefone: 0049-345-558-5311
http://www.ufz.de/index.php?en=821

Publication:
Essl F, Dullinger S, Rabitsch W, Hulme P.E., Hülber K, Jarošík V, Kleinbauer I, Krausmann F, Kühn I, Nentwig W, Vilà M, Genovesi P, Gherardi F, Desprez-Loustau ML, Roques A & Pyšek P (2010): Socioeconomic legacy yields an invasion debt. - Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS), published online early on December 20, 2010, http://www.pnas.org/cgi/doi/10.1073/pnas.1011728108 (available from 20. Dezember 2010)

Tilo Arnhold | UFZ
Further information:
http://www.ufz.de/index.php?en=20893

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Transforming plant cells from generalists to specialists
07.12.2016 | Duke University

nachricht What happens in the cell nucleus after fertilization
06.12.2016 | Helmholtz Zentrum München - Deutsches Forschungszentrum für Gesundheit und Umwelt

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Significantly more productivity in USP lasers

In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.

Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...

Im Focus: Shape matters when light meets atom

Mapping the interaction of a single atom with a single photon may inform design of quantum devices

Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

Im Focus: MADMAX: Max Planck Institute for Physics takes up axion research

The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.

The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

Predicting unpredictability: Information theory offers new way to read ice cores

07.12.2016 | Earth Sciences

Sea ice hit record lows in November

07.12.2016 | Earth Sciences

New material could lead to erasable and rewriteable optical chips

07.12.2016 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>