Marine Aliens II project

Controlling marine invasive species by targetting vectors of dispersal

A joint meeting of the Linnean Society of London and the Marine Aliens II consortium

Controlling Marine Invasive Species by Targeting Vectors of Dispersal

10th February 2011
A joint meeting of the Linnean Society of London and the Marine Aliens II consortium, supported by the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation.
Organised by Paul Clark (Natural History Museum, London), John Bishop (Marine Biological Association, Plymouth) and Liz Cook (Scottish Association for Marine Science)


Invasive (“alien”) species are a serious threat to conservation efforts and across all habitats are estimated to cost the UK taxpayer over £2 billion per year. Some of the top scientists in the field gathered in London on 10th February for a Symposium about marine invasive non-native species.
The Symposium, a joint meeting of the Linnean Society and the Marine Aliens consortium, shared scientific information on ways in which invasive non-native species arrive and spread in the UK.
Marine Aliens II is a consortium of research organisations, co-ordinated by the Scottish Association for Marine Science (SAMS) and supported by the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, whose aim is to protect native biodiversity by finding out exactly how marine non-native species arrive on our shores. Research in phase one of the project has shown that it is critical to target high‐risk entry points and to act swiftly before establishment and secondary spread can occur. The main focus of phase two is the role of boat hulls as a means for non-native plants and animals to travel from one port to another.
‘Biological invasions’ are helped by increased maritime activity and by the creation of ideal habitats for marine life in sheltered areas where many boats come and go. Of particular concern are some species of sea squirts whose biological traits make them perfectly suited to colonizing new areas. One of these, the carpet sea squirt, can blanket mooring chains, pontoons and aquaculture equipment, and can even smother areas of the sea bed, forcing out native plants and animals.
Liz Cook, coordinating the project at SAMS said “The meeting is the culmination of six years of coordinated research during which the Marine Aliens team has earned a high profile, provided expertise for conservation action and detected some highly invasive species in marinas and estuaries around Great Britain.”

What the Marine Aliens consortium has done

Over the last six years, the Marine Aliens team has documented the distribution of non‐native marine species in coastal areas around the UK, highlighted new introductions and discovered a few species that can potentially have a serious impact on our native flora and fauna.During the first three years of the project, it became evident that targeting high‐risk entry points and eradicating initial introductions before establishment and secondary spread can occur is critical as, once established, control is almost impossible. Hull fouling has been identified as a high‐risk vector for the introduction of invasive alien species. Recent increases in shipping and recreational boating have led to an acceleration in global introductions and this risk is due to intensify with the ban in 2008 on tributyltin (TBT) in antifouling paints. The International Maritime Organization is considering what international measures would be required to reduce the risk of introducing marine aliens via hull fouling. In response, the Marine Aliens team have: assessed the risk of introduction on recreational and commercial vessels in the UK; assessed potential methods for the early detection and control of marine aliens; and continued to raise awareness of this serious issue. This meeting is an opportunity for those interested in the issue of hull fouling as a vector for the spread of marine invasive species to hear about the latest UK‐based and international research on this and related topics.


Some Principles of Marine Invasion and Vector Science Jim Carlton, Williams College, Mystic, USA
Marine Aliens – Setting the Scene Liz Cook and Chris Beveridge, Scottish Association for Marine Science
Marinas as nurseries for non native species: is the risk posed by a site predictable? John Bishop, Christine Wood, Anna Yunnie, Stuart Jenkins, Kate Griffith, Judith Oakley, Liz Cook, Chris Beveridge, Tracy McCollin and Lyndsay Brow, Marine Biological Association, Plymouth; School of Ocean Sciences, Bangor University; Scottish Association for Marine Science and Marine Scotland
Assessing the risk of transporting non native species to Scotland via biofouling on vessels Tracey McCollin and Lyndsay Brown, Marine Scotland
Arrival of new macroalgal aliens in the British Isles and NW France Christine Maggs and Frederic Mineur, Queens University Belfast
Is there such a thing as a clean yacht? John Bishop, Chris Wood and Anna Yunnie, Marine Biological Association, Plymouth
To scrub or not to scrub: the interaction between disturbance frequency and resistance of marine communities on boat hulls to invasion
Liz Cook and Chris Beveridge, Scottish Association for Marine Science
Marine Aliens: engaging schools and communities Guy Baker, Marine Biological Association, Plymouth
Stress tolerance in the invasive colonial ascidian Didemnum vexillum Frederike Groner and Stuart Jenkins, Bangor University
Eradicating the nonnative carpet sea squirt Didemnum vexillum from Holyhead Harbour, North Wales Rohan Holt, Countryside Council for Wales
Reds! Erythrean aliens and the changes in the biodiversity of the Mediterranean Sea Bella Galil, Israel Institute of Oceanographic Research, Haifa
Do crustacean symbionts hitchhike on invasive species? Rony Huys and Paul Clark, The Natural History Museum, London
The Pacific oyster: what the walrus never knew Dan Minchin, Marine Organism Investigations, Killaloe, Ireland
16.00 Concluding remarks/discussion


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Partners NHM QUB Univeristy of Plymouth MBA SAMS