New Alien Species Invasions Still Rising Globally

Global rise in emerging alien species results from increased accessibility of new source pools

New Alien Species Invasions Still Rising Globally
Photo: CC Image courtesy of Danel Solabarrieta on Flickr

Up to 16% of all species on Earth could qualify as potential alien species and if they invade new regions, impacts will be difficult to predict, according to new research involving UCL.

The study shows that the number of newly emerging alien species—those never before encountered as aliens—continues to rise, posing a significant challenge to biosecurity interventions worldwide.

Approaches to tackle the growing issue largely rely on knowledge of species’ invasion history elsewhere, giving new previously unrecorded alien species a higher chance of slipping through border controls and eluding early response management.

The study, published today in PNAS and led by scientists at Senckenberg Biodiversity and Climate Research Centre (BiK-F), the University of Vienna and UCL, analysed a global database of 45,984 records detailing the first invasions of 16,019 established alien species from 1500 until 2005 to investigate the dynamics of how alien species spread worldwide.

Between the years 2000 and 2005, one quarter of records are of species that had not previously been found anywhere as an alien, which is a worryingly high proportion.

For plants, mammals, and fishes, the proportion of newly emerging alien species has remained constant during the last 150 years but the total number of alien species has increased.

Insects, molluscs and other invertebrates have the highest proportion of emerging alien species. Birds are the only group exempt from the trend, showing the lowest proportions of emerging alien species, with a distinct decline noted recently.

“Humans have been moving species to new places for thousands of years, so we might have expected that most species that have the potential to become aliens would already have done so. Instead, it seems the pool of new aliens is far from dry” explained study co-author, Professor Tim Blackburn (UCL Genetics, Evolution & Environment, and Zoological Society of London).

“While most new records do relate to the spread of species we already knew were aliens, the fact that one in four relates to a completely new alien species is both surprising and troubling.”

Previously, growth in alien species numbers has been largely attributed to increases in import volumes, human mobility and land-degradation.

However, statistical models in this study suggest that the high proportion of emerging alien species cannot be solely explained by these drivers and is actually likely to be due to the incorporation of new regions as a source of potential alien species invasions. The team estimated that there are therefore many potential alien species yet to emerge.

“With measures being taken to prevent alien species introductions and spread, there has been a decline in the proportions of newly emerging alien species from established sources, such as historical European colonies.

However, this decrease has been offset by newly emerging alien species elsewhere and it is likely that we can expect many more new alien species invasions starting to appear from regions with large and growing economies,” explained co-author Dr. Ellie Dyer (UCL Genetics, Evolution & Environment and ZSL).

“These findings will be extremely helpful for horizon scanning studies that aim to identify “door knocker” species, which are those not yet recorded but are suspected of presenting a high risk of arrival and detrimental impacts.

More information: Hanno Seebens el al., “Global rise in emerging alien species results from increased accessibility of new source pools,” PNAS (2018). www.pnas.org/cgi/doi/10.1073/pnas.1719429115

Sourcephys

Find us here

Get news from the CSGLOBE in your inbox each weekday morning

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors/source and do not necessarily reflect the position of CSGLOBE or its staff.

Paid content

This Is How North Korea Could kill 90 Percent of Americans

“The mainstream media, and some officials who should know better, continue to allege North Korea does not yet have capability to deliver on its...

The internal contradictions of capital accumulation

A rigged Economy The wide spread poverty and economic crisis is not the natural consequence of the work of incompetent politicians and bankers. The economic...

CIA Influence On Hollywood To Be Exposed By Congress

Congress have approved a bill that will force the government to shed light on the influence the CIA has over Hollywood. An amendment to Congress’...

What's New Today

Georgia House Votes To Allow Citizens To Abolish Police Departments In The State

The Georgia House backed an effort on Friday to dissolve the Glynn County Police Department and any...

Leaked CDC document contradicts Pence claim that U.S. coronavirus cases ‘have stabilized’

Even as Vice President Mike Pence wrote in a Wall Street Journal op-ed published Tuesday that coronavirus...

Five bombshells about Trump from Bolton ‘s book

Excerpts from former national security adviser John Bolton ’s book about his time in the Trump administration...

Don’t Listen to Fox. Here’s What’s Really Going On in Seattle’s Protest Zone.

It seems I live in a city undergoing a “totalitarian takeover” that will lead to “fascist outcomes”...

MOST READ

Ancient Paintings of UFO’s from 200 to 15.000 years ago

Ancient Paintings of UFO's Over the past 15,000 years UFOs have been clearly depicted in paintings from all around the world. This video features some...

Out of the Blue

OUT OF THE BLUE is widely considered one of the best documentary films ever made about UFOs and was directed by celebrated filmmakers James...

What Is Agenda 21? Depopulation of 95% of the World By 2030

Most people are unaware that one of the greatest threats to their freedom may be a United Nations program which plans to depopulate 95%...

This Is How North Korea Could kill 90 Percent of Americans

“The mainstream media, and some officials who should know better, continue to allege North Korea does not yet have capability to deliver on its...

Internet of Things’ an Absolute Goldmine for Big Brother, Admits Top US Spy

Sworn testimony delivered to the U.S. Congress by Director of National Intelligence James Clapper raised eyebrows as he acknowledged publicly for the first time...

America’s Secret Government: Unaffected by Elections, Beyond the Reach of the Law

“Today the path to total dictatorship in the U.S. can be laid by strictly legal means, unseen and unheard by Congress, the President, or...

5 Things No One Tells You About the Military Industrial Complex

Writing a comedic article about militarism is a lot like trying to escape a straightjacket: finding leverage in the midst of constriction is not...

Organic food significantly lowers pesticide exposure

Eating an organic diet for a week can cause pesticide levels to drop by almost 90% in adults, research from RMIT University has found. The...

The Feds don’t care about pot smokers

The Feds don't care about pot smokers; they just keep HEMP illegal in order to maintain the power, medicine, and fuel monopolies (NaturalNews) The Feds...

The incredible mystery of the ‘alien spacecraft’ that lies at the bottom of the Baltic Sea

Dubbed the “Baltic Sea Anomaly”, the structure looks like the Millenium Falcon from Star Wars. It was discovered five years ago by Swedish treasure hunters,...

Election Aftershock: World’s Richest People Lose $41 Billion After Trump Win

The victory of Donald Trump as the 45th president of the United States has something in common with the United Kingdom’s vote to leave...