The majestic, unusual looking Lionfish could be seen as harmless to the untrained eye. Yet, this invasive species has multiplied aggressively over the last two decades to become a serious threat to biodiversity in the marine setting.
The red lionfish (Pterois volitans) and the devil firefish (Pterois miles) are native to the Pacific Ocean and the Indian Ocean respectively, though their ranges overlap in the waters around Indonesia. These two species are collectively known as lionfish and are so similar in appearance that scientists usually rely on genetic analysis to tell them apart. Thriving on coral reefs and among mangroves and seagrass, lionfish have distinctive white and red/brown striped bodies and venomous spines on their fins to protect them from predators.
A team of international scientists, including CABI’s Dr Urs Schaffner, have recommended ways to manage the devastating spread of the woody weed Prosopis juliflora, where in Baringo County, Kenya, its coverage rapidly increased by 2,031 percent in just 28 years.
PhD student Purity Rima Mbaabu, affiliated to the University of Nairobi and co-supervised by Simon Choge, Kenya Forestry Research Institute, Dr Sandra Eckert, Centre for Development and Environment, University of Bern, Switzerland, Profs. Maina Gichaba and Prof. Daniel Olago, University of Nairobi, and Dr Schaffner, is lead author of new research which states that the rates of Prosopis invasion in Kenya are a ‘major threat to the environment and rural people’s livelihoods.’
The study calls for the ‘urgent implementation of coordinated and sustainable Prosopis management in Baringo County and other invaded areas in East Africa’.
A project aimed at managing the risks and costs of invasive alien species on important ecosystems, species and genetic diversity was launched in St. Kitts and Nevis on Tuesday, at the Ocean Terrace Inn Conference Room.
Coinciding with its regional consultation with member states in Africa, CABI hosted a policy summit on invasive species in Gaborone, Botswana on 28 February. About 70 delegates representing policymakers, research, the private sector and civil society from across Africa gathered to learn about and discuss the impact of invasives as well as the technical and policy solutions required to defeat them.
Dr Pablo González-Moreno, one of CABI’s senior researchers with expertise in invasive plant ecology, has joined a workshop of international scientists concerned with investigating the invasive non-native species that pose the greatest threat to Gibraltar’s terrestrial and marine environments.
The start of 2019 brought sad news when George, the last tree snail of his kind (Achatinella apexfulva) died on New Years Day. His death highlights the plight of Hawaiian snails and epitomises the rapid decline of biodiversity on the Hawaiian Islands.
George had become somewhat of a local celebrity in Hawaii, a mascot for endangered Hawaiian snails, which are revered in native Hawaiian legend as the ‘voice of the forest’. George was born in a lab as part of efforts to save his species, and over his 14-year lifetime was visited by hundreds, if not thousands, of schoolchildren.
As well as climate change, invasive species have taken a huge toll on native animals and insects in Hawaii; snails like George were once ubiquitous throughout the islands. Continue reading →
CABI has published one of the most complete and current datasets on Invasive Alien Plants (IAP) in East and Southern Africa. This extraordinary dataset is already being translated into new research findings and conservation action on the ground.