Invasive non-native species (INNS) are considered one of the greatest threats to biodiversity with an estimated direct cost to UK marine industries in excess of £40 million each year.
The increasing move to low carbon energy generation in Wales, including wind, tidal, wave and nuclear means each year a greater number of artificial novel structures will be installed in the sea, or on the seabed. To aid and improve biosecurity planning for new and existing marine structures and operations, we need a better understanding of the processes and factors affecting colonisation and habitation of INNS on artificial and natural structures.
Using existing populations of INNS as case studies, within accessible Welsh marinas, the PhD aims to understand the processes determining colonisation of artificial structures by INNS. Mechanistic insight into the colonisation process will then be used within a modelling framework to provide predictions of future spread as well as biosecurity planning advice.
This PhD builds upon previous partner company (Marine EcoSol) projects and expertise relating to the management of non-native species in Wales and the UK. Using the research from this PhD Marine EcoSol intends to contribute to and improve national standards of best practice and develop services including biosecurity planning and scientifically rigorous, targeted and cost effective INNS surveillance and monitoring techniques.