Alien species cause a number of impacts in the ecosystems they live in, ranging from hardly detectable to dramatic
change. Measuring such impacts is not always straightforward. Furthermore, a wide range of methods and variables has been used to
describe these impacts, making comparison between species and habitats difficult. Impacts of some species are context-dependent,
varying greatly depending on the exact circumstances. Measuring and comparing impacts is however crucial in order to prioritise the
management of alien species. The better the understanding of context-dependency, the better equipped we will be to predict the impacts
of new alien species.
In 2013, an international working group, named sImpact, was established to tackle some of the issues
related to the impacts of alien species. Under the leadership of C·I·B researcher Sabrina Kumschick, the group published
a paper that reviewed different methods (observational and experimental) for detecting and quantifying impacts for different groups
(plants, vertebrates, invertebrates) and habitats (terrestrial, aquatic and marine).
The paper, published in BioScience, proposed a set of parameters on which to base the development of
quantitative measurements to allow comparisons of impacts across alien species, sites, and time. “The systematically gathering
and synthesizing of solid evidence of the impacts caused by alien species facilitate communication with the public and will better inform
policy- and decision makers.” says Sabrina Kumschick, lead author of the paper.
Read the article:
Gaertner M, Vilà M, Essl F, Jeschke JM, Pyšek P, Bacher S, Blackburn TM, Dick JTA, Evans T, Hulme PE, Kühn I, Mrugala A, Pergl J,
Rabitsch W, Ricciardi A, Richardson DM, Sendek A & Winter M (2014) Ecological impacts of alien species: quantification, scope, caveats and
For more information, contact Sabrina Kumschick at email@example.com
The paper is one of the outcomes of a workshop held in Leipzig in July 2013 by the sImpact working group.