News

New Non-native Species Job: Non-native Species Specialist

19 October 2017

New Non-native Species Job: Non-native Species Specialist
The Non-native species specialist will provide technical guidance and delivery support primarily to UK Government in delivery of domestic policy on invasive non-native species (INNS) and its obligations under existing European Union Regulation on the prevention and management of the introduction and spread of invasive alien species. The post holder will be responsible for growing and managing a portfolio of projects within the National Wildlife Management Centre on non-native species and their management. This will range from research into risks posed by non-native species and management of those risks, through to delivery of invasive plant and animal control projects within the UK and overseas.

Initially the job will focus on delivering the RAPID LIFE project, which aims to establish a new strategic framework to enhance management of INNS across England. This will involve working with locally-based stakeholders to coordinate efforts to maximise the impact of the project and to meet the targets included in the GB INNS strategy.

Main Duties and Responsibilities:

1 Project management - delivery of current and future projects on time and in budget

2 Project delivery - involvement in all aspects of projects, including inception, writing standard operating procedures; collecting, managing, analysing and interpreting information; and report writing.

3 Bidding for contracts - proactively seeking opportunities and bidding for new work

4 Policy advice and support - provide knowledgeable and authoritative advice to Defra and the devolved administrations on the management of invasive species

5 Functional staff management - responsible for efficient deployment of staff on projects and for health and safety of staff working on projects

For more information and to apply, visit the Civil Service Jobs website

Asian hornet contained in Devon

17 October 2017

Asian hornet contained in Devon
An Asian hornet nest has been destroyed in the Woolacombe area and no further live Asian hornets have been sighted.

A recent outbreak of Asian hornets has been successfully contained by bee inspectors who promptly tracked down and destroyed their nest in Devon.

The hornets were first discovered in the Woolacombe area in September, but the National Bee Unit moved swiftly to find the nest and remove it.

No further live Asian hornets have been seen since the nest was treated with pesticide and removed earlier this month.

Nicola Spence, Defra Deputy Director for Plant and Bee Health, said:

I am pleased our well-established protocol to contain Asian hornets has worked so effectively in Devon.

We remain vigilant, however, and will continue to monitor the situation and encourage people to look out for any Asian hornet nests.

Members of the public are a vital tool in spotting Asian hornets and we urge people to report any potential sightings through the Asian hornet app or online.

This included a two mile surveillance zone in Devon, with bee inspectors scouring the area to track the hornets and the nest. The Animal and Plant Health Agency also opened a local control centre to coordinate the response between the various agencies and teams involved.

Asian hornets pose no greater risk to human health than a bee, though they are a threat to honey bee colonies.

The hornet prey on honeybees, disrupting the ecological role which they provide and damaging commercial beekeeping activities. This is why Defra takes quick action to identify and destroy their nests.

The species arrived in France in 2004 and is now common across large areas of Europe. It was discovered for the first time in the British Isles in Jersey, Alderney and Gloucestershire last summer.
Asian hornets can be confused with their larger native European hornet counterparts; the Asian hornet abdomen is almost entirely dark while the European hornet’s abdomen is largely yellow.

It is possible Asian hornets could reappear in the UK and members of the public alongside the nation’s beekeepers are urged to report any suspected sightings.

New post-doc position on the economic cost of invasive species

12 October 2017

New post-doc position on the economic cost of invasive species
A postdoctoral position is available immediately in the Biodiversity Dynamics research group, at the Lab of Ecology, Systematics & Evolution, at the University of Paris-XI, Orsay, France to work on the Invacost program.

The postdoctoral researcher will lead a study on the economic cost of invasive species. This is a 12 month, full-time position, with possibility to extend.

Candidates should have a Ph.D. and a documented experience in ecology or conservation. An experience in environmental economics is not indispensable, but would be a clear plus.

Interested candidates should send a curriculum vitæ, a brief summary of research experience and interests, and names of at least two references to franck.courchamp@u-psud.fr

For more information visit: http://max2.ese.u-psud.fr/epc/conservation/pages/Franck/homepage.html

New non-native species job: Marine Ecological Researcher / Project Officer

12 October 2017

New non-native species job: Marine Ecological Researcher / Project Officer
The Project Officer will coordinate a project funded by the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund to examine the feasibility and sustainability of harvesting a non-native seaweed resource in southwest England. Wild harvesting and farming of seaweed for food, fertilizer, alginate and other products is a rapidly growing industry in many regions. In parts of the UK, the non-native Asian kelp Undaria pinnatifida (‘Wakame’) has established and become an abundant and conspicuous component of natural communities.

This project will (i) synthesise existing information on the distribution and population biology of Wakame, (ii) examine its ecological functioning within native communities and (iii) yield new information on its potential value as a food source and aspects of biosecurity. This will involve sampling populations in low intertidal/shallow subtidal habitats, processing, basic data analysis and report writing.

The Project Officer will be directly line managed by Dr Dan Smale who will work with the successful candidate to meet the project’s objectives. They will also participate in wider group activities and research (see http://www.mba.ac.uk/fellows/smale-group for further information). The Project Officer will engage with project partners (PML Applications) and wider stakeholders (e.g. regional SMEs, government agencies).

For more information visit the website

New 3 year post-doc position on ecological modelling of invasive species distributions

12 October 2017

New 3 year post-doc position on ecological modelling of invasive species distributions
Ghent University is offering a three-year full time post-doc positions on ecological modeling of invasive species distributions, based at the TEREC (http://www.ecology.ugent.be/terec). They are looking for a motivated post-doc with proven skills in species distribution modeling, and with an affinity for biological invasions and invasive species policy. The postdoc will be part of the larger TrIAS team (Tracking Invasive Alien Species, https://osf.io/7dpgr).

More information on the position and the project can be found here https://tinyurl.com/ycocddzj or by contacting diederik.strubbe@ugent.be


Asian hornet identified in Devon

26 September 2017

Asian hornet identified in Devon

An Asian hornet has been found in the Devon area.

The National Bee Unit has confirmed a sighting of the Asian hornet at an apiary near Woolacombe in Devon.

The Asian hornet is smaller than our native hornet and poses no greater risk to human health than a bee. However, they do pose a risk to honey bees.

This is the first confirmed sighting since last year, when a nest was discovered in the Tetbury area in Gloucestershire. That Asian hornet incursion was successfully contained by bee inspectors who promptly tracked down and destroyed the nest.

Work to identify, destroy and remove any nests is already underway, which includes:

  • setting up a surveillance zone around North Devon
  • opening a local control centre to coordinate the response
  • deploying bee inspectors across the area who will use infrared cameras and traps to track hornets and locate any nests
  • readying nest disposal experts who will use pesticides to kill the hornets and destroy any nests

Nicola Spence, Defra Deputy Director for Plant and Bee Health, said:

"While the Asian Hornet poses no greater risk to human health than a bee, we recognise the damage they can cause to honey bee colonies. That’s why we are taking swift and robust action to locate and destroy any nests in the Devon area following this confirmed sighting.

Following the successful containment of the Asian hornet incursion in Gloucestershire last year, we have a well-established protocol in place to eradicate them and control any potential spread.

We remain vigilant across the country, working closely with the National Bee Unit and their nationwide network of bee inspectors."

A local control centre will be opened this week in North Devon and bee inspectors from APHA National Bee Unit will be carrying out surveillance and monitoring initially in a 1-2 km radius around the initial sighting.

They will be supported by nest disposal experts who will use an approved pesticide to destroy any hornets and remove any nests.

The free Asian Hornet Watch reporting app, launched last March and downloaded 6500 times already, allows people to quickly and easily report possible sightings of the invasive species and send pictures of suspect insects to experts at the National Bee Unit.

The cost of eradication on private land will be met by APHA.

Anyone who believes they have found a nest should not go near it and report it using the Asian Hornet Watch app which is available to download from the Apple and  Android  app stores.

The hornet found near Woolacombe is currently undergoing both DNA testing at the National Bee Unit in North Yorkshire to help establish how it arrived in the UK.

Members of the public can also report sightings by email to alertnonnative@ceh.ac.uk with a photo or on the GB Non-native Species Secretariat website.

The GB Non-native Species Secretariat is a joint venture between Defra, the Scottish Government and the Welsh Government to tackle the threat of invasive species. More information can be found on their website.

For details on the appearance of an Asian hornet visit Bee Base or download the non-native species identification guide.


Global perspectives help scientists to understand why and how invasive species move around the world

15 September 2017

Global perspectives help scientists to understand why and how invasive species move around the world
Scientific links between the UK and China have been strengthened at the University of Southampton during an international workshop supported by the Newton Fund Researcher Links programme of the British Council and the National Natural Science Foundation of China. Researchers at this three-day event at the National Oceanography Centre Southampton examined the global threat of invasive species and discussed ways to detect and prevent them.

Delegates presented evidence on how ships crossing the oceans may inadvertently be carrying many species a long way from their natural habitats. Transported to distant environments, these animals and plants can replace native species in their new surroundings. As most of the world’s major ports are currently in China, this workshop was a timely event to bring together Chinese and UK scientists at the forefront of invasion science research to share their knowledge and discuss future directions for research.

This workshop involved 30 researchers based in the UK and China who are all studying non-indigenous species in their new homes. Research highlighted included many topics such as for example the discovery of hybrid fish in east Africa, new developments in environmental DNA analysis to detect invasive species, the growth of agricultural pests in China or the use of satellite imaging to monitor how non-indigenous species expand.

Dr Marc Rius, Lecturer within Ocean and Earth Science at the University of Southampton, organised the workshop with Professor Aibin Zhan from the Key Laboratory of Environmental Biotechnology, Research Center for Eco-Environmental Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences. Marc says: “We need global perspectives to tackle this global problem. Scientists in the UK and China are currently addressing these issues in different ways and it has been very valuable to interact and learn from each other.”

Many of the researchers are employing new genomic techniques to sequence the entire DNA content of invasive species to find out more about them, where they originally came from and which pathways they have followed to reach their new locations. Climate change is also playing a part as many of the newcomers may more easily adapt to changing conditions, including extreme temperatures.

“Learning more about invasive species and how they move around the world is an increasingly important area of research and we hope this will be the first of many such gatherings” adds Marc.


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