The aim of this project is to develop surveillance methods to facilitate the mapping of Invasive Alien Species (IAS) distribution in Irish marine habitats. Galway Mayo Institute of Technology (GMIT) are researching IAS detection methods in Irish nearshore waters and benthic habitats. They have completed a review of known marine IAS in Ireland and identified IAS that could invade Irish marine habitats through vulnerable invasion pathways and other mechanisms (e.g. ballast water vectors, climate change, etc). Molecular methods, such as environmental DNA techniques, are being assessed as a tool for confirming presence/absence of IAS in Irish waters. These techniques have potential as an early detection technique for monitoring the introduction and spread of invasive taxa. Targeted field studies using established methods, are being carried out in parallel to identify and confirm the presence of IAS. This will give a better understanding of their distribution and risk assessment, and thereby enabling management actions that could be addressed in a marine spatial plan.
2 years (2019-2021)
1. Review document summarising existing programmes that monitor for IAS with a view to identifying potential gaps in the current regulatory programme, to summarising a standardised approach that could ensure all statutory and non-statutory IAS monitoring requirements are being addressed, and to outlining criteria that distinguish between harmful (i.e. invasive) and more benign alien taxa.
2. A publicly available database and catalogue of marine IAS detected in Irish marine habitats.
3. Risk assessments to characterise the marine IAS potential for further colonization and spread; to ascertain the ecological (e.g., fisheries, biodiversity, ecosystem services etc.), economic and environmental health consequences of such spread; and to investigate mechanisms to control or eradicate the species and manage their risks through mitigation measures.
4. Detection and surveillance methods manual.