BU research finds River Thames among most invaded in the world

Posted on Monday, October 15 2012

The River Thames catchment is among the most highly invaded freshwater systems in the world, Bournemouth University research has found.

Michelle Jackson, from the Centre for Conservation Ecology and Environmental Science, in BU’s School of Applied Sciences, identified 96 freshwater non-native species in the River Thames catchment.

Invasion rates have increased significantly since 1800 and 53 per cent of the species were discovered in the last 50 years.

Her research, with Jon Grey from Queen Mary University in London, has been published in journal Biological Invasions, and suggests that globalisation and increased shipping activity could have contributed to the increased rates of species invasion.

Michelle said: “Invasive species are major drivers of biodiversity and ecosystem service loss and multiple invaders have the potential to amplify one another’s impact.

“Shipping activity and population size in the catchment were positively correlated with non-native species discovery, suggesting that globalisation has facilitated species invasions.”

She added: “Modern invasion rates reveal that one non-native species is discovered every 50 weeks, despite legislation aiming to prevent introductions, making the Thames catchment among the most highly invaded freshwater systems in the world.”