CONICET scientists will represent the country in the first world report on invasive alien species

They were selected by the IPBES, an intergovernmental scientific platform that seeks to promote conservation and the sustainable use of biodiversity.

Evangelina Schwindt, Martín Nuñez, Alejandro Valenzuela and Romina Fernandez. Photo: courtesy researchers.

Scientists from different cardinal points of the country were called by the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) to participate in the Global Evaluation of Invasive Exotic Species and their control.

The researchers who participate are: from Bariloche, Carolina Morales and Martín Nuñez represent the Instituto de Investigaciones en Biodiversidad y Medioambiente (INIBIOMA, CONICET-UNCo); from Ushuaia, Alejandro Valenzuela, researcher at the Instituto de Ciencias Polares, Ambiente y Recursos Naturales (ICPA) of the Universidad Nacional de Tierra del Fuego (UNTDF); from Puerto Madryn, Evangelina Schwindt, who works at the Instituto de Biología de Organismos Marinos (IBIOMAR-CONICET), and from Tucumán, Romina Fernández, Postdoctoral fellow at the Instituto de Ecología Regional (IER, CONICET-UNT).

The IPBES is an independent International body, supported by the United Nations. Its main goal is to strengthen the links between science and politics for the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity, in pursuit of long term general well-being and sustainable development. For this aim, it conducts evaluations of the state of biodiversity and the ecosystem services to use the scientific and cultural knowledge in decision-making and meet the global needs of biodiversity conservation in the world. It was created in 2012 by member states, that are now more than 130 countries. Besides, a great amount of NGOs and civil groups participate as observers.

Biological invasions are one of the principal causes of loss of global biodiversity because they affect native species and the structure and functioning of ecosystems. The Convention of Biological Diversity (1992) defines invasive alien species as animals, plants or other organisms introduced directly or indirectly by men in places outside its natural range, where there have been established, dispersed and generated, accordingly, an impact on local ecosystems and species.

Considering the relevance of the problem, last month the IPBES called more than seventy experts from all the world to conduct the evaluation on invasive alien species, which will require three years of work. CONICET will be represented by five scientists.

The report is divided into six different chapters that will deal with the problem in all its dimensions: one general introduction of biological invasions, their trends, the factors that cause them, the impacts they generate, their management and future options on the subject. This report is the largest and most important international effort to review all existing information on biological invasions, generate a global analysis of the theme and provide a complete summary with the best results of studies available worldwide for those who make important decisions.

The first work meeting took place in the city of Tsukuba, Japan, between August 19th and 23rd this year. In this instance, work agreements were made for the generation of the reference report. Dr. Schwindt and Nuñez will be responsible for coordinating the chapters on management and impact of invasive alien species, respectively. Romina Fernández will also contribute to the development of the chapter on impacts. Morales and Valenzuela will be the main authors of the chapters on responsible factors and impact of biological invasions.

The place of the next meeting of authors will be defined in November.