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, 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:
Steering Committee members also proposed and discussed a
number of possible topics that could provide the foci for an international
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.
Encourage and seek support for development of an international
database network to track past, current, and possible future invasions.
Compile a list of individuals who might be interested in
participating in an international conference on exotic species.
Poll those expressing interest (from #3 above) to identify topics of
greatest interest, as a basis for organizing sessions at a conference.
Explore the possibility of organizing an International Conference on
Exotic Species for the year 2000.
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
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
Please include your name, mailing address, telephone #, FAX #, Email
address, and an indication of how you would like to be involved.