Europe unveils revamped alien species database
Europeans have launched the revamped key data catalogue on non-native (alien) species. Presented at the recent NEOBIOTA conference in Pontevedra, Spain, the DAISIE ('Delivering alien invasive species inventory for Europe') database gives policymakers and the public access to a comprehensive overview of which alien species are present in Europe, as well as how these non-native species are affecting both the environment and society. DAISIE received EUR 2.4 million in funding under the 'Sustainable development, global change and ecosystems' Thematic area of the EU's Sixth Framework Programme (FP6).
The information of more than 12 000 alien species is in the database, a tool for Europeans to use to figure out how to keep alien species at bay. Over 1 000 new species were added to the database, along with new information for a number of other species. The threat of these species finding a niche in Europe concerns policymakers in Europe and abroad. For instance, experts could assess how the Asian hornet is making its way across Europe, while the grey squirrel is expanding its presence in southern Europe. Experts worldwide are making this issue a priority action in various policies, such as the Convention on Biological Diversity Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020.
Launched in 2005 with key EU support, DAISIE is now backed by the NERC Centre for Ecology & Hydrology in the United Kingdom and the Swiss Sciex programme, in addition to a team of European alien species researchers.
'The DAISIE portal has become the prime source on the state of the growing threat of biological invasions in Europe,' said Dr Franz Essl from the Environment Agency Austria. 'The launch of the updated version of the DAISIE portal providing lots of new information and new search tools makes it even more relevant - for scientists, conservation managers and decision-makers.'
Commenting on the latest developments, DAISIE co-coordinator Dr Helen Roy from the NERC Centre for Ecology & Hydrology said: 'The freely available, high quality, information on the DAISIE website is key to underpinning decision-making on alien and invasive alien species across Europe and beyond. The project is successful because a dedicated group of experts from across Europe take time to contribute, maintain and update the species information in DAISIE. This pan-European collaboration within the project is critical to addressing the threat of invasive alien species, considered one of the greatest threats to biodiversity, now and in the future.'
The project partners have included the following in the database: 986 aquatic marine, 669 aquatic inland, 2 740 terrestrial invertebrates, 400 terrestrial vertebrates, 6 658 terrestrial plants and 724 terrestrial fungi. To date, the team has determined that around 15 % of the impacts is harmful to the environment, habitats, native plants, animals and microorganisms.
Related stories: 32900
Category: Project results
Data Source Provider: NERC Centre for Ecology & Hydrology
Document Reference: Based on information from the NERC Centre for Ecology & Hydrology
Subject Index: Biotechnology; Coordination, Cooperation; Environmental Protection; Life Sciences; Policies; Scientific Research