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Announcing the SIL Working Group on Aquatic Invasive Species

January, 1999.

A workshop “Aquatic Invasive Species – Developing a Scientific Information Exchange” was held at the 27th SIL (Societas Internationalis Limnologiae) Congress in Dublin, Ireland in August 1998. The goal of the workshop was to discuss and stimulate communications and networking between scientists concerning aquatic invasive species. Twenty-one scientists participated in the discussions.
As a result of the workshop, a short proposal to establish a SIL Working Group on Aquatic Invasive Species was developed and presented to the National Representatives when they met later in the week, The proposal was approved, and the Working Group was established. The text of the proposal as presented to the National Representatives follows:

“SIL Working Group on Aquatic Invasive Species
The introductions and transfers of aquatic organisms are a major problem of global concern. Unintentional and intentional introductions of species have caused a decrease in biodiversity, have impacted and transformed ecosystems, and have caused severe economic losses. Recent examples include the zebra mussel (Dreissena polymorpha) in North America and Ireland, water fleas (Daphnia lumholtzi, Bythotrephes cederstroemi) in North America, and the amphipod Gmelinoides fasciatus in some European lakes. With the number of new introductions continuing to grow, there exists an obvious need to develop tools for prevention and early detection, and legislation for mandatory impact assessment for any planned introductions to fresh waters.
It is recommended that SIL form a working group to make the membership and global community aware of these needs. The working group could seek to develop an information system on invasive species on a worldwide basis. The information system should contain 1) current distributions, ecological requirements, and potential risks to ecological resources; 2) identify mechanisms of transport to new habitats; 3) identification of range expansion for all identified exotic species, though most importantly, for those of ecological or economic concern. In addition, the working group shall provide an expert forum for development of strategies to combat further introductions.
Further, we ask the international representatives of SIL to educate legislators in their home countries of the critical nature of freshwater nonindigenous species problems, and to work towards legislation pertaining to mandatory biological impact assessment for planned introductions.”

Another suggestion coming out of the workshop was to organize an international conference or workshop on species transfers, focusing on freshwater and brackish aquatic ecosystems.
On November 6, 1998, a Steering Committee met in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Attending were:
Dr. Alfred Beeton, Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA
Dr. David Culver, Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio
Dr. Hugh MacIsaac, University of Windsor, Windsor, Ontario, Canada
Mr. Thomas Nalepa, NOAA/Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory, Ann Arbor, Michigan
Dr. David Reid, NOAA/Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory, Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA
Dr. Gregory Ruiz, Smithsonian Environmental Research Center, Edgewater, MD (by phone)
Dr. Henry Vanderploeg, NOAA/Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory, Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Goals and Activities of the Working Group
The long-term goal of the Working Group is to promote global awareness of the problems and risks posed by cross-boundary species transfers by encouraging and improving scientific networking and data exchanges. Emphasis will be placed on species transfers between and among freshwater and brackish aquatic ecosystems.
The Steering Committee proposes to initiate the following actions towards this goal:
  1. Organize the Working Group around an international network of interested scientists and decision-makers concerned about exotic species, using the Internet as a primary vehicle of communication.

  2. Encourage and seek support for development of an international database network to track past, current, and possible future invasions.

  3. Compile a list of individuals who might be interested in participating in an international conference on exotic species.

  4. Poll those expressing interest (from #3 above) to identify topics of greatest interest, as a basis for organizing sessions at a conference.

  5. Explore the possibility of organizing an International Conference on Exotic Species for the year 2000.

Steering Committee members also proposed and discussed a number of possible topics that could provide the foci for an international conference:
  • patterns of invasion existing and emerging invasion mechanisms role of brackish estuaries as intermediate vectors of freshwater invasions

  • identification of species posing a high-probability for future cross-boundary transfer, including source and target ecosystems

  • ecological and economic effects of aquatic exotics

  • invasion control - chemical, mechanical, biological; efficacy of intervention mechanisms

  • invasion theories and models

Contacts and Information

Anyone interested in receiving information updates, or in participating on the Working Group, or in specific activities of the Working Group as described above, should contact current chairperson of SIL WGAIS, Dr. Vadim Panov, by e-mail: vepanov@gmail.com


Please include your name, mailing address, telephone #, FAX #, Email address, and an indication of how you would like to be involved.


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