Marine Aliens II project

Controlling marine invasive species by targetting vectors of dispersal

Aims & objectives

The primary objective of this project is to protect native biodiversity from the impacts of marine invasive non-native species (NNS) that enter the UK marine environment via hull fouling.
Research will include:
• a rigorous assessment of the risk of introduction associated with hull fouling, including; Quantification of NNS associated with hull fouling, a high risk anthropogenic vector;
• classification of ports/marinas in terms of hull fouling potential, based on basin configuration and environmental variables, and development of a monitoring system for the early detection of invasive marine species on vessel hulls in ports/marinas suitable for deployment by local non-specialist staff or volunteers.
• determining the most effective methods for early detection of newly arrived invasive NNS and associated parasites, and
• assessing the impact of potential control methods on native biodiversity, particularly if the control is required in areas proposed as marine Special Areas of Conservation.

Other project activities and outputs will include:

• a continuation of the MarLIN invasive non-natives reporting system which highlights new invasions, so control measures can be initiated early in the invasion of a new region;
• raised awareness of invasive introductions within high risk industrial sectors, such as marinas/port authorities, and public awareness through a variety of media;
• raised public awareness of invasive introductions through continued support of the database for UK sightings of non-native marine species via the Marine Aliens website, and the 'Alien Invaders and Climate Indicators' schools project, and
• engagement with other water-using communities, such as recreational boat owners.
The project will also bring together research on vectors of introduction and secondary spread of marine invasive NNS and maintain close liaison with statutory environmental protection and conservation agencies (e.g. Natural England (NE), Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH)) responsible for implementing the Water Framework Directive, Convention of Biological Diversity and/or managing marine protected areas and scheduled species and with industry to inform development of invasive species control strategies and action plans.

Partners NHM QUB Univeristy of Plymouth MBA SAMS