Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Thwarting invaders: Predicting risks from invasive species before it happens

Date:
July 11, 2012
Source:
The Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU)
Summary:
When American scientists broke the news in early 2012 that the Burmese python, a non-native species in the Florida Everglades, had eradicated up to 90 per cent of the raccoons, white-tailed deer and possums in parts of the Everglades National Park, the outcry was immediate and intense. The US Fish and Wildlife Service immediately made importing the snakes illegal, and in March 2012, it will be illegal to transport them across state lines. Critics, however, argue that mammal declines show the damage is mostly done – but what if you could figure out how dangerous an introduced species will be in its new environment before the damage takes place?

Alien Nightmare. The non-native Burmese python, which has drastically reduced mammal populations in the Florida Everglades, is a good example of the damage that invasive species can cause.
Credit: Nancy Bazilchuk

When American scientists broke the news in early 2012 that the Burmese python, a non-native species in the Florida Everglades, had eradicated up to 90 per cent of the raccoons, white-tailed deer and possums in parts of the Everglades National Park, the outcry was immediate and intense. The US Fish and Wildlife Service immediately made importing the snakes illegal, and in March 2012, it will be illegal to transport them across state lines.

Critics, however, argue that mammal declines show the damage is mostly done – but what if you could figure out how dangerous an introduced species will be in its new environment before the damage takes place? That ability to foresee the future has mostly eluded biologists and land managers – until now.

A coalition of researchers from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) and staff from the Norwegian Biodiversity Information Centre have created a unique quantitative method that enables researchers and others to assess the environmental risks posed by non-native species. While the method is tailored to the Norwegian environment, it can easily be adapted to other countries, and fills a vital need internationally for a quantifiable, uniform approach to classifying and assessing alien species, the developers say.

“This provides an objective classification of these species’ potential impact on the Norwegian environment. We relied on much of the same principles as are used in the preparation of the ‘Red List’ of endangered and threatened species,” says Professor Bernt-Erik Sζther at NTNU’s Centre for Conservation Biology (CCB), who has spearheaded the development of the new methodology with the help of a coalition of other Norwegian scientists and Biodiversity Information Centre staff.

The method classifies species according to their reproductive ability, growth rate, individual densities, population densi­ties, prevalence and their effect. This information allows the researchers to plot the risks posed by each species on two axes, one of which shows the likelihood of the species’ dispersal and ability to establish itself in the environment (along with its rate of establishment, if applicable) while the other shows the degree to which the alien species will affect native species and habitats.

Based on the combined values of the two axes, the species can be placed in one of five risk categories, from very high risk, to species with no known risk factors. While the classification scheme is now only in Norwegian, plans calls for translating it into English, with the hopes that it can provide a useful international approach to assessing risks from alien species.

Related Articles



Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by The Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU). Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

The Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU). "Thwarting invaders: Predicting risks from invasive species before it happens." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 11 July 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/07/120711100917.htm>.
The Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU). (2012, July 11). Thwarting invaders: Predicting risks from invasive species before it happens. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 4, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/07/120711100917.htm
The Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU). "Thwarting invaders: Predicting risks from invasive species before it happens." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/07/120711100917.htm (accessed March 4, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: Tourists Visit Rare Grey Whales in Mexico

Raw: Tourists Visit Rare Grey Whales in Mexico

AP (Mar. 4, 2015) — Once nearly extinct, grey whales now migrate in their thousands to Mexico&apos;s Vizcaino reserve in Baja California, in search of warmer waters to mate and give birth. Tourists flock to the reserve to see the whales, measuring up to 49 feet long. (March 4) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Australian Museum Shares Terrifying Goblin Shark With the World

Australian Museum Shares Terrifying Goblin Shark With the World

Buzz60 (Mar. 4, 2015) — The Australian Museum has taken in its fourth-ever goblin shark, a rare fish with an electricity-sensing snout and &apos;alien-like&apos; jaw. Mike Janela (@mikejanela) takes a look. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Prince William Calls for Unified Effort Against Illegal Wildlife Trade

Prince William Calls for Unified Effort Against Illegal Wildlife Trade

Reuters - Entertainment Video Online (Mar. 4, 2015) — Britain&apos;s Prince William pledges to unite against illegal wildlife trade on the final day of his visit to China. Rough cut - no reporter narration Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Greenpeace Activists Protest French Imports of Illegal Logs

Greenpeace Activists Protest French Imports of Illegal Logs

AFP (Mar. 4, 2015) — Greenpeace activists deliver a four tonne log to the Ministry of Ecology to protest against imports of illegal wood. Duration: 00:59 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins