For the first time in Ireland, a Catalogue of Ireland’s Non-native Species has been compiled. While lists of non-native species have been published for specific groups or environments, this is the first centralised database for all known non-natives where information on those species are presented in categories in a standardised format.  It is important to know what non-native species we have in Ireland so we can assesses from those what might be invasive species.

The value of standardising the information into a centralised system allows for easy analysis of the data to answer questions such as what are the main ways these species are being introduced into Ireland and what is the rate of introduction. Answering such questions can support policy and decision making to tackle future introductions. As the categories used follow the Convention of Biological Diversity and IUCN Invasive Species Specialist Group published terminology, this allows for the compiled data to be compatible for trend and prioritization analysis with other European and international countries.

 

Audit of checklists

Underpinning the Catalogue of Ireland’s Non-native Species is an audit of species checklists and published sources of information on Ireland’s biodiversity. While for some species groups such as terrestrial mammals or freshwater fish, it is well documented which species are native or not. For many other groups particularly insects, there was little to no information on native status. From the audit, we know that of the 31,513 species in Ireland, 1,277 are non-native. This number is of non-native species is in reality likely to be higher but due to the native status of the species not being published, undocumented or unknown, the available information is always likely to underrepresent the extent of non-natives in Ireland.

 

What’s in the Catalogue?

For the 1,277 non-native species listed in the catalogue, comprehensive profile information has been compiled for the 127 species at risk of high and medium impact with varying amounts of information for the remaining species. The fully referenced species profiles contain information on the species distribution, identification, ecology, pathways of introduction, risk assessment score, legal status and links to further information. Only categories that have information entered in them are visible. By end of April, 2016 it is planned to have a section on the Data Centre invasives project website where summary trend graphs on the Catalogue of Ireland’s Non-native Species information can be viewed.  These graphs will be linked directly to the Catalogue and so can provide real time information.

 

As compiling information on all of these non-native species is a momentous and an on-going project, any referenced information you might be able to provide for the species profiles including good images would be gratefully received.

 

The National Biodiversity Data Centre is very thankful to the many weeks and months spent by Rory O’Callaghan working tirelessly on the Catalogue of Ireland’s Non-native Species. Rory recently finished his 9-month JobBridge Internship at the Data Centre.

To access invasive species distribution maps directly please go to: http://maps.biodiversityireland.ie