University of Auckland compiles first global invasive species list

26 January 2018

The idea for the Register was conceived and conceptualised at the University of Auckland where the New Zealand office of the IUCN Invasive Species Specialist Group has been hosted for over two decades.

GRIIS is presented in the publication Scientific Data, published this week.

“This has been a huge project and has involved the work of many scientists and government staff from many countries around the world,” says University of Auckland Honorary Academic in the School of Biological Sciences Shyama Pagad who is lead author of the work. “It is vital to helping countries track and monitor how invasive species are impacting biodiversity and fragile ecosystems and the main pathways for invasive species.”

The Register includes 202 country and territory sub-lists, and currently houses over 8944 evidence-based records and close to 40,000 alien and invasive species records (species by country, i.e. not unique species) that are in the process of being verified, such as the examples published in Scientific Data. Global coverage, including the European Overseas Territories and Regions is planned for 2018.

Some of the key challenges that had to be overcome in compiling the Register were developing a system that was evidence-based, and that included information from a wide range of sources, languages and formats.

GRIIS will now be updated regularly, enabling repeat assessments and building knowledge to help reduce the impact of invasive species and prevent their introduction.

A highlight of the initiative has been the involvement of networks of editors in each country who are now the custodians of their country’s checklists, says Ms Pagad who is also a member of the IUCN Species Survival Commission's Invasive Species Specialist Group.

Read Introducing the Global Register of Introduced and Invasive Species in Scientific Data.

Source: University of Auckland