The Global Village or Globalization concepts have become a relevant part of our current lives. No doubts one of the associated consequences is the hotspot phenomenon of biological invasions. The spread of invasive species (NIS, non-indigenous species) has become so extensive (and global) that the ecological impacts of such invasions represent today a major threat to global biodiversity. The introduction of non-native species alter existing ecosystems and is now ranked second only to habitat destruction in terms of potential ecological catastrophe. When ecosystem goods and services are compromised by nuisance NIS this implies expenses of millions of dollars on remediation policies on the ecosystems.
After establishments in a new location, eradicating invasive species is extremely challenging, costly and in many cases not feasible. Actions for controlling biological invasions are the most efficient at the early stage of incursion. Preventing the introduction of invasive alien species is one of the main lines of action that have been stated by the European Commission growth strategy. In order to perform qualitative and reliable risk assessments, evaluate environmental status, ensure adequate border control and post-border detection, there is a need for innovative, rapid, and cost-effective diagnostic tools that be able to identify and quantify the full range of NIS. The efficiency of NIS prevention, detection and rapid response actions can be fortified by raising public awareness and engaging active citizens to be involved in NIS surveillance, notification programs, and eventually mitigation of spread and eradication actions.
The ALERTOOLS 2016 event, held at the Niemeyer center in Áviles, Spain, gathered together researchers, teachers, students and citizens coming from the UK, New Zealand, Canada, Lithuania and Spain, all of them concerned about the hot topicality of biological invasions. Organized together by the Marine Observatory of Asturias and the Cluster of Environment and Energy of the Campus of Excellence of the University of Oviedo, was coordinated by Dr. Yaisel J. Borrell (Biology) and Dr. Eduardo Dopico (Education Sciences) under the scientific direction of Prof. Eva Garcia-Vazquez.