Recent research has shown that Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) are on the rise due to the synergistic effects of climate change and habitat destruction. The impacts of AIS on biodiversity, human health, and loss of ecosystem services (food, tourism and water provision) have long been known, but their control and management has now become a worldwide priority. Successful management of AIS is challenging because it requires several steps in succession: (1) early detection, (2) identification of routes of introduction and pathways of dispersal, and (3) development of efficient control measures.
However, public awareness and stakeholder involvement is also critical for preventing new introductions and for mitigating the impact of existing ones. The main research goal of AQUAINVAD-ED is to exploit novel molecular advances combined with the power of crowd data sourcing (citizen science) to develop innovative methods of early detection, control and management of AIS. This will be achieved via a multi-disciplinary network of experts in invasion biology, ecology, marine and fresh-water biotechnology, citizen science and environmental policy working in three different countries.
Catalysing Research & Commercial Activity
The consortium has a strong inter-sectoral dimension and includes scientists and professionals from 3 universities, 1 technological institute, 2 government agencies, 1 NGO and 5 SMEs working in fundamental and applied aspects of AIS. AQUAINVAD-ED will catalyse research and commercial activity in the detection and management of aquatic invasive species, as well as in the implementation of codes of good practice for the European industry and Government agencies.
This will be achieved by training the next generation of researchers on the principles of invasion biology, providing them with the tools and knowledge required to detect and quantify the ecological and socio-economic impacts of invasive species and the skills necessary to communicate science to the general public, across disciplines and sectorial boundaries.
The program will be delivered through individual research projects, active participation in network activities and a unique combination of specialised courses, designed to increase the employability of graduates in the consultancy sector, government, academia, and the water industry. The active involvement of academic and non-academic partners in all the activities of the AQUAINVAD-ED network provides a cross-sectorial programme of research–led training on aquatic invasive species, a topic of increasing importance that fulfils an important need for Europe.