Evaluation of Online Information Sources on Alien Species in Europe: The Need of Harmonization and Integration
- 687 Downloads
Europe is severely affected by alien invasions, which impact biodiversity, ecosystem services, economy, and human health. A large number of national, regional, and global online databases provide information on the distribution, pathways of introduction, and impacts of alien species. The sufficiency and efficiency of the current online information systems to assist the European policy on alien species was investigated by a comparative analysis of occurrence data across 43 online databases. Large differences among databases were found which are partially explained by variations in their taxonomical, environmental, and geographical scopes but also by the variable efforts for continuous updates and by inconsistencies on the definition of “alien” or “invasive” species. No single database covered all European environments, countries, and taxonomic groups. In many European countries national databases do not exist, which greatly affects the quality of reported information. To be operational and useful to scientists, managers, and policy makers, online information systems need to be regularly updated through continuous monitoring on a country or regional level. We propose the creation of a network of online interoperable web services through which information in distributed resources can be accessed, aggregated and then used for reporting and further analysis at different geographical and political scales, as an efficient approach to increase the accessibility of information. Harmonization, standardization, conformity on international standards for nomenclature, and agreement on common definitions of alien and invasive species are among the necessary prerequisites.
KeywordsBiological invasions Online databases European policy Interoperable web services Standardization
We thank three anonymous reviewers for their valuable comments that helped us improve the manuscript. Helen Roy, Wolfgang Rabitsch, and Riccardo Scalera provided useful comments on a near-final version of the manuscript. The views presented in this paper should be taken as the personal perspectives of the authors and cannot be regarded as the official position of the European Commission.
- Boero F, Putti M, Trainito E, Prontera E, Piraino S, Shiganova TA (2009) First records of Mnemiopsis leidyi (Ctenophora) from the Ligurian, Thyrrhenian and Ionian Seas (Western Mediterranean) and first record of Phyllorhiza punctata (Cnidaria) from the Western Mediterranean. Aquat Invasions 4:675–680CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- EC (2008) Towards an EU strategy on invasive species. COM/2008/789. European Commission, BrusselsGoogle Scholar
- EC (2011) Our life insurance, our natural capital: an EU biodiversity strategy to 2020. COM/2011/244. European Commission, BrusselsGoogle Scholar
- Hulme PE, Nentwig W, Pyšek P, Vilà M (2009) Common market, shared problems: time for a coordinated response to biological invasions in Europe? NeoBiota 8:3–19Google Scholar
- Kettunen M, Genovesi P, Gollasch S, Pagad S, Starfinger U, ten Brink P, Shine C (2009) Technical support to EU strategy on invasive species (IAS)—Assessment of the impacts of IAS in Europe and the EU (final module report for the European Commission). Institute for European Environmental Policy (IEEP), BrusselsGoogle Scholar
- Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (MEA) (2005) Ecosystems and human well-being: biodiversity synthesis. World Resources Institute, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
- Pergl J, Nentwig W, Winter M, Bacher S, Essl F, Genovesi P, Hulme PE, Jarošik V, Kühn I, Pyšek P, Roques A, Roy D, Vilà M, Roy H (2012) Progress on DAISIE: alien species inventories in Europe updated. In: Proceedings of the ‘NEOBIOTA 2012’ 7th European Conference on Invasive alien species, 12–14 Sept 2012, Pontevedra, Spain, p 39Google Scholar
- Shine C, Kettunen M, Genovesi P, Essl F, Gollasch S, Rabitsch W, Scalera R, Starfinger U, ten Brink P (2010) Assessment to support continued development of the EU Strategy to combat invasive alien species. Final Report for the European Commission. Institute for European Environmental Policy (IEEP), BrusselsGoogle Scholar
- Vandekerkhove J, Cardoso AC (2010) Alien species and the water framework directive—questionnaire results. JRC Scientific and Technical Reports, Publications Office of the European Union, EUR 24257 EN, ISBN 978-92-79-15053-1. doi: 10.2788/64083
- Zenetos A, Polychronidis L (2010) Feasibility study in setting up a regional mechanism for collecting, compiling and circulating information on invasive nonindigenous species in the Mediterranean, Contract number No 85/RAC/SPA_2010Google Scholar