Congratulations to Tom Mason, Stuart Brooker and Nicolas Fuentes-Allende who all won prizes for their posters at the department of biosciences research away day. See links below for the winning posters!
Congratulations go to both Lucy Gardner and Harriet Newhouse for being awarded their Research MSc.
Lucy’s thesis investigated the extent to which parameters are available to produce population viability analyses for the world’s birds under future climate change scenarios, with a particular fopcus on estimating population sizes.
Harriet’s thesis highlighted priority conservation sites for ecotourism using data from wildlife tourism guidebooks and tours to evaluate the species that motivate ecotourism, and using this information to simulate hotspots for wildlife-based tourism, both now and in the future.
We are delighted to announce the publication of a new paper from the group, led by Dr Wayne Dawson and including collaborators from around the world. This study presents a global analysis of the hotspots and coldspots of alien species richness across multiple taxonomic groups. The study is published in Nature Ecology and Evolution.
Human-mediated transport beyond biogeographic barriers has led to the introduction and establishment of alien species in new regions worldwide. However, a global picture of established alien species richness for multiple taxonomic groups has been lacking. We assessed global patterns and potential drivers of established alien species richness across eight taxonomic groups (amphibians, ants, birds, freshwater fishes, mammals, vascular plants, reptiles and spiders) for 186 islands and 423 mainland regions.
We found that hotspots of established alien species richness are predominantly island and coastal mainland regions. The top three regions (after accounting for area and sampling effort) are the Hawaiian Islands, the North Island of New Zealand, and the Lesser Sunda Islands of Indonesia. The top coastal mainland region is Florida, with Italy and California also featuring among the top 2.5% of regions overall.
Lead author Dr Wayne Dawson said:
“Our research shows that, islands and mainland coastal regions contain higher numbers of established alien plants and animals, and this may be because these areas have major points of entry like ports. In general, regions that are wealthier, and where human populations are denser also have more alien species, but these effects are stronger for islands.”
“More work is needed to understand whether these effects arise because more species are introduced to hotspot regions, or because human disturbance in these regions makes it easier for the newcomers to find vacant spaces and opportunities to thrive.”
Dr Dawson added:
“While species have been moved around the globe throughout history, more and more species will be introduced as the world becomes ever more connected, and the human population continues to grow. Many of these incoming species are useful, and won’t establish and spread in their new homes, but some will, with varying levels of impact on resident species and ecosystems. The challenge for us is to understand what the consequences are of mixing up the world’s species in this way, to decide how to deal with this change, and what measures we can put in place to try and prevent further introductions to the most vulnerable regions.”
The full paper can be found here
We are excited to welcome Tom Mason, who has started a new post-doc position in the group. Tom will initially be investigating the role of past human activities in restricting the distributions of European birds, with the goal of developing a more complete understanding of their conservation status. Tom previously carried out his PhD within the group and has since worked as a post-doc at Laval University in Canada and the University of Stirling. Further information on Tom’s research can be found here and on his personal website.