The perils and prevention of invasive species

Australia is facing a “sliding doors” moment when it comes to invasive species, according to a new report by the CSIRO and Centre for Invasive Species (CISS). Invasive species have done vast damage to Australia’s ecology and economy over the past century. The impact of things like cane toads and the current mouse plague are … Continue reading The perils and prevention of invasive species

Horses and donkeys engineer water for desert ecosystems

Well-digging horses and donkeys could provide a valuable service for plants and animals in arid ecosystems, according to a study published in the journal Science. The wells, dug to two metres or more to access the water table, substantially increased water availability in US deserts of Arizona and helped to facilitate diversity of several native … Continue reading Horses and donkeys engineer water for desert ecosystems

Attack of the alien invaders

By Corey J. A. Bradshaw, Flinders University; Boris Leroy, Muséum national d’histoire naturelle (MNHN); Camille Bernery, Université Paris-Saclay; Christophe Diagne, Université Paris-Saclay, and Franck Courchamp, Université Paris-Saclay They’re one of the most damaging environmental forces on Earth. They’ve colonised pretty much every place humans have set foot on the planet. Yet you might not even … Continue reading Attack of the alien invaders

The staggering cost of biological invasion

Invasive species have cost the planet US$1.28 trillion over the past 50 years, according to a new analysis published in the journal Nature. The team of authors warn these costs will continue to soar unless prevention and control is improved. The research reveals that biological invasion has hindered crop yields, damaged national infrastructure, and imperilled … Continue reading The staggering cost of biological invasion

Relentless invasion of the cane toad continues

When people say they love all creatures great and small, they’re surely not thinking of the warty, poisonous cane toad that has wreaked havoc across tropical Australia since its ill-fated introduction. It gets worse. The ugly toads (Rhinella marina) are evolving in leaps and bounds according to scientists who’ve had a closer look at their … Continue reading Relentless invasion of the cane toad continues

Europe the hotspot for alien species

The number of alien species, particularly insects, arthropods and birds, is likely to increase by 36% globally by the middle of this century compared to 2005, according to a new study. Europe will feel the brunt of this, it predicts, with the arrival of around 2500 new non-native species – an increase of 64% for … Continue reading Europe the hotspot for alien species

When is an invasive species not so?

By Jenny Morber Caribbean corals sprout off Texas. Pacific salmon tour the Canadian Arctic. Peruvian lowland birds nest at higher elevations. In the past 100 years, the planet has warmed in the range of 10 times faster than it did on average over the past 5,000. In response, thousands of species are travelling poleward, climbing … Continue reading When is an invasive species not so?

Invasive species threaten biodiversity

Leading international experts have estimated that even moderate increases in the spread of invasive plant and animal species will cause major damage to ecosystems and biodiversity around the world. This has important ramifications for human livelihoods too, according to the 38 scientists who published their assessment in the journal Global Change Biology. They found the … Continue reading Invasive species threaten biodiversity

Who are the real pests?

Since Charles Darwin sailed around South America less than 200 years ago – a blip in the Earth’s history – the human population has mushroomed exponentially, from less than 1.2 to around 3.5 billion in 1968 and now approaching eight billion people. This uncontrolled population growth is the inconvenient truth we can no longer skirt … Continue reading Who are the real pests?

How invasive species wreak climatic havoc

When non-native plants invade an ecosystem, their interactions with new insects and microorganisms accelerate carbon cycling, according to a paper published in the journal Science. Although the unwelcome guests were already known to destabilise carbon balance, the new study reveals the process is more complex than previously thought, says lead author Lauren Waller, from Lincoln … Continue reading How invasive species wreak climatic havoc

Lionfish quite at home in the Mediterranean

The rise and rise of the lionfish (Pterois miles) is a timely reminder that threats to the world’s marine environments aren’t all directly linked to humans. First seen off the coast of Cyprus just eight years ago, the invasive species is now thriving across southern Europe, researchers say. It is so well established, in fact, that … Continue reading Lionfish quite at home in the Mediterranean