Guest writer, Dr Jenna Ross, from Crop Health and Protection (CHAP), joins us for a two-part special series on the outputs of her prestigious Nuffield Farming Scholarship, where she spent 26 weeks travelling the world studying all aspects of slug invasions and methods of control. In Part 1, Jenna discusses the current slug fauna of the UK and potential slug invasions.
The slug fauna of the UK is constantly evolving. To date, there are an estimated 42 slug species in the UK, with another newly introduced milacid species identified in 2018. However, what is particularly interesting, is that of the species present in the UK, only 18 are native, with the rest being introduced. This means that over 50% of the UK’s slug fauna are exotic. So why are slugs so successful at invading new habitats? There are many reasons for this, including their high reproductive rates, environmental tolerance, flexible behaviour, ability to thrive in association with humans (synanthropic) and the fact they are free from their natural predators and parasites when entering new unoccupied ecological niches.
Invasive apple snails, formerly known as Golden Apple Snails (GAS), are an invasive species that pose a threat to crops, ecosystems and even humans. These natives of South America have spread to many other parts of the world, through both deliberate and accidental introductions. Called apple snails because they can grow to the size of an apple or a tennis ball, these molluscs can wreak havoc on both agriculture and the environment, and can also carry diseases that infect humans. Invasive apple snails have been listed among the world’s 100 most invasive species by IUCN/GISD. Belonging to the genus Pomacea, there are several species of apple snail that have become invasive. In Southeast Asia, the most important of these pest species are P. canaliculata and P. maculata (formerly known as P. insularum).
By Dr Pablo L. Plaza, Dr Karina L. Speziale, and Dr Sergio A. Lambertucci
In the current global climate of excess waste production around the world, there is great concern about how waste and dump sites could be a global problem, especially because the amount of global waste is only set to increase in the near future. At the moment, 3 million tonnes of waste is discarded around the world every day and by 2025, that total is expected to double.
Air pollution and contamination of water corps and soil with a range of toxins are common problems associated with the management of dump sites. Added to this is the presence of infectious pathogens in these sites, which can cause disease outbreaks for the communities living near to a rubbish dump site and even those in more distant areas.