Invasive species

Marine species are introduced to new environments by several means including transport in ships ballast water, biofouling on ships hulls, accidental introductions through aquaculture and by attachment to floating debris in the ocean. Many organisms will find their new environment hostile and will die off but some will thrive, often due to a lack of natural predators in the new environment, and spread to form new populations elsewhere. These are called invasive alien species.

Invasive alien species can have a devastating effect on local ecosystems, adversely affecting biological diversity, ecosystem functioning, and even human health. The rate of aquatic invasions has increased in recent decades and is now considered as one of the key causes of biodiversity changes worldwide.

PML scientists are studying the effects of invasive species on local ecosystems and developing modelling tools to assess the likelihood of success of future invasions and estimate the potential impact on ecosystem structure and biodiversity.

Untreated ballast water is one of the major sources on introduced species. From September 2017 ships will be required to manage their ballast water to remove, render harmless or avoid the uptake or discharge of aquatic organisms as the International Maritime Organization's Ballast Water Convention comes into force.

Through our trading subsidiary PML Applications Ltd we are enabling shipping companies to choose, operate and test ballast water management systems to minimise introductions of non-native species and ensure compliance with regulations. PML Applications Ltd also offer biofouling management services including the development and testing of antifouling technologies to reduce species introductions.

Making a difference

Our research will inform future policy and management of invasive species and develop solutions to minimise the transport of aquatic species thus helping to secure healthy and productive seas and oceans.

Further information

Projects

REVIVAL

Rehabilitation of Vibrio-infested waters of Lake Vembanad, funded under the India-UK Water Quality programme (REVIVAL)

Contact: Dr Shubha Sathyendranath

Lake Vembanad is the largest body of water in Kerala, India, stretching almost 100km in length and spanning an area of over 2000km2. Its shores are...

Optimization of recombinant antiviral antibody production in the diatom Phaeodactylum tricornutum

Optimization of recombinant antiviral antibody production in the diatom Phaeodactylum tricornutum

Contact: Dr Felix Ciceron

Microalgae represent a promising resource for the production of various high-value products, such as lipids, polysaccharides and recombinant...

Other recent news articles

News

Seaweeds can attract friends and keep away enemies

Two biologists from Plymouth Marine Laboratory (UK) and the GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel (Germany) have shown for the first time that an aquatic plant (macrophyte) uses surface-based chemicals to specifically cultivate microbes on its surface that protect th...

News

Seaweed potential in the South West

Seaweed is an underutilised and under-cultivated commodity, but offers huge potential for a variety of products, according to a new paper from PML researchers.

News

PML experts training around the globe on the sampling and analysis of ballast water

Last month scientists from PML and its trading subsidiary PML Applications Ltd were in the Kingdom of Jordan to deliver national training on the sampling and analysis of ballast water. 

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Related recent publications

  1. Saha, M; Weinberger, F; Van Alstyne, K. 2019 Microbial “gardening” by a seaweed holobiont: Surface metabolites attract protective and deter pathogenic epibacterial settlement. Journal of Ecology, 107 (5). 2255-2265. https://doi.org/10.1111/1365-2745.13193
    View publication

  2. Schratzberger, M; Somerfield, PJ. 2020 Effects of widespread human disturbances in the marine environment suggest a new agenda for meiofauna research is needed. Science of The Total Environment, 728. 138435. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2020.138435
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  3. Saha, M; Ferguson, RMW; Dove, S; Künzel, S; Meichssner, R; Neulinger, SC; Petersen, FO; Weinberger, F. 2020 Salinity and Time Can Alter Epibacterial Communities of an Invasive Seaweed. Frontiers in Microbiology, 10. https://doi.org/10.3389/fmicb.2019.02870
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  4. Beacham, TA; Cole, IS; DeDross, LS; Raikova, S; Chuck, CJ; Macdonald, J; Herrera, L; Ali, T; Airs, RL; Landels, A; Allen, MJ. 2019 Analysis of Seaweeds from South West England as a Biorefinery Feedstock. Applied Sciences, 9 (20). 4456. https://doi.org/10.3390/app9204456
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  5. Nelms, SE; Parry, HE; Bennett, KA; Galloway, TS; Godley, BJ; Santillo, D; Lindeque, PK. 2019 What goes in, must come out: Combining scat‐based molecular diet analysis and quantification of ingested microplastics in a marine top predator. Methods in Ecology and Evolution, 10 (10). 1712-1722. https://doi.org/10.1111/2041-210X.13271
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