The importance of taxonomy in responses to invasive alien species.

Douglas, H., Dang, P.T., Gill, B.D., Huber, J.T., Mason, P.G., Parker, D.J., and Sinclair, B.J. (2009). "The importance of taxonomy in responses to invasive alien species.", Biodiversity, 10(2-3), pp. 92-99.

Abstract

Invasive alien species (IAS) have caused major economic losses and ecosystem damage worldwide. Taxonomic information has been essential to initiating defence against IAS. Such knowledge is a precursor to responses to IAS including early detection and identification of new IAS outbreaks. Taxonomy based tools of IAS detection, identification, and research on ecological interactions between the pest, host, and ecosystem are all indispensable in planning defensive strategies and integrated control measures, especially biological control. We demonstrate examples of the roles that taxonomy has played in responding to outbreaks of snails, Lepidoptera, Diptera and Coleoptera. Further to this we outline how international co-operation was essential to identifying initial outbreaks of Agrilus planipennis, the Emerald Ash Borer beetle. Such international co-operation is especially important because few trading countries can fund comprehensive pest identification organizations. We also highlight the efficacy of free, internet-based pest identification tools.

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