Determinants of data deficiency in the impacts of alien bird species

Working with scientists at UCL and Stellenbosch University, I recently undertook a global assessment of the environmental impacts of alien birds, using the Environmental Impact Classification for Alien Taxa (EICAT). One of the important results of this assessment was that for approximately 70% of alien bird species, we have no data on their environmental impacts. These species are classified as Data Deficient (DD) under EICAT.

In order to understand more about why this is the case, we carried out a further study to identify factors that may influence whether we have impact data for alien birds. Whilst the results indicate that many species are likely to be DD because they have minor impacts that do not attract scientific research, they also suggest that some species may be DD for reasons that are unrelated to the severity of their impacts. For example, the availability of impact data was found to be strongly associated with the length of time a species had been resident as an alien, and the size of its alien range. This is important, because it suggests that some alien bird species (e.g. those introduced to new environments relatively recently, or those with restricted alien ranges) may have environmental impacts that are going unnoticed. Our study highlights the need to improve our impact prediction capabilities, in order to identify the types of DD species that are likely to have damaging impacts.

You can read the paper here.

About Tom Evans

I am a Conservation Scientist with a background in Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA). I’m currently undertaking a PhD at University College London (UCL), funded by the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC). In November 2018, I’ll be moving to the Institute of Biology at the Free University of Berlin, to take up a research fellowship funded by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation. Using birds as a model taxon, my research focuses on understanding the processes that drive biological invasions, and the identification and management of impacts associated with alien species.
This entry was posted in Alien birds, Alien species, Biodiversity conservation, Biological invasions, Birds, Conservation science, Data Deficient (DD), Environmental Impact Classification For Alien Taxa (EICAT), Macroecology and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s