, Volume 45, Issue 3, pp 280–289 | Cite as

Improving invasive species management by integrating priorities and contributions of scientists and decision makers

  • Anouk N’Guyen
  • Philipp E. Hirsch
  • Irene Adrian-Kalchhauser
  • Patricia Burkhardt-Holm


Managing invasive species is a major challenge for society. In the case of newly established invaders, rapid action is key for a successful management. Here, we develop, describe and recommend a three-step transdisciplinary process (the “butterfly model”) to rapidly initiate action for invasion management. In the framing of a case study, we present results from the first of these steps: assessing priorities and contributions of both scientists and decision makers. Both scientists and decision makers prioritise research on prevention. The available scientific knowledge contributions, however, are publications on impacts rather than prevention of the invasive species. The contribution of scientific knowledge does thus not reflect scientists’ perception of what is essentially needed. We argue that a more objective assessment and transparent communication of not only decision makers’ but also scientists’ priorities is an essential basis for a successful cooperation. Our three-step model can help achieve objectivity via transdisciplinary communication.


Conservation managers Decision makers Invasive species Round goby Strong objectivity Transdisciplinary 



We thank all workshop participants and organisers, Catherine Cornaz for assistance with the literature review, Hannes Weigt, Philipp Mayer and an anonymous reviewer for helpful comments on an earlier version of this manuscript. This project was funded by a special grant from the Federal Office for the Environment, Switzerland, the Research Centre for Sustainable Energy and Water Supply (FoNEW), the canton BS, plus cantonal lottery funds of AG, BL, SO. The authors declare no conflict of interest.


  1. Barreteau, O., P. Bots, and K. Daniell. 2010. A framework for clarifying participation in participatory research to prevent its rejection for the wrong reasons. Ecology and Society 15.Google Scholar
  2. Bayliss, H.R., G.B. Stewart, A. Wilcox, and N.P. Randall. 2013. A perceived gap between invasive species research and stakeholder priorities. NeoBiota 19: 67–82.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bens, I. 2012. Facilitating with ease! Core skills for facilitators, team leaders and members, managers, consultants, and trainers. New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
  4. Burkhardt-Holm, P., W. Giger, H. GUttinger, U. Ochsenbein, A. Peter, K. Scheurer, H. Segner, E. Staub, et al. 2005. Where have all the fish gone? Environmental Science and Technology 39: 441A–447A.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Byers, J.E., S. Reichard, J.M. Randall, I.M. Parker, C.S. Smith, W.M. Lonsdale, I.A. Atkinson, T.R. Seastedt, et al. 2002. Directing research to reduce the impacts of nonindigenous species. Conservation Biology 16: 630–640.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Chalmers, A.F. 2013. What is this thing called science?. Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing.Google Scholar
  7. Collins, H.M., and R. Evans. 2002. The third wave of science studies of expertise and experience. Social Studies of Science 32: 235–296.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Conrad, C.C., and K.G. Hilchey. 2011. A review of citizen science and community-based environmental monitoring: issues and opportunities. Environmental Monitoring and Assessment 176: 273–291.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Cook, D.C., M.B. Thomas, S.A. Cunningham, D.L. Anderson, and P.J. De Barro. 2007. Predicting the economic impact of an invasive species on an ecosystem service. Ecological Applications 17: 1832–1840.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Cowling, R.M., B. Egoh, A.T. Knight, P.J. O’Farrell, B. Reyers, M. Rouget, D.J. Roux, A. Welz, et al. 2008. An operational model for mainstreaming ecosystem services for implementation. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 105: 9483–9488.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. DAISIE. 2015. European Invasive Alien Species Gateway: 100 of the worst. Retrieved June 24, 2015, from
  12. Davidson, A.D., and C.L. Hewitt. 2014. How often are invasion-induced ecological impacts missed? Biological Invasions 16: 1165–1173.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Defila, R., and A. Di Giulio. 2015. Integrating knowledge: Challenges raised by the “Inventory of Synthesis”. Futures 65: 123–135.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Dimond, P.E., N.E. Mandrak, and B. Brownson. 2010. Summary of the rapid response to Round Goby (Neogobius melanostomus) in Pefferlaw Brook with an evaluation of the national rapid response framework based on the Pefferlaw Brook experience. DFO Canadian Science Advisory Secretariat Research Document 2010/036. vi + 33 p.Google Scholar
  15. Drolet, D., A. Locke, M.A. Lewis, and J. Davidson. 2014. User-friendly and evidence-based tool to evaluate probability of eradication of aquatic non-indigenous species. Journal of Applied Ecology 51: 1050–1056.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Edelaar, P.I., and J.L. Tella. 2012. Managing non-native species: Don′t wait until their impacts are proven. Ibis 154: 635–637.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Federal Office for the Environment Switzerland. 2015. Strategie der Schweiz zu invasiven gebietsfremden Arten, Entwurf (Strategy on invasive alien species, Draft). Retrieved October 7, 2015, from
  18. García-Llorente, M., B. Martín-López, P.A. Nunes, J.A. González, P. Alcorlo, and C. Montes. 2011. Analyzing the social factors that influence willingness to pay for invasive alien species management under two different strategies: Eradication and prevention. Environmental Management 48: 418–435.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Genovesi, P., and C. Shine. 2004. European strategy on invasive alien species: Convention on the conservation of european wildlife and habitats (Bern Convention). Council of Europe.Google Scholar
  20. Heger, T., A.T. Pahl, Z. Botta-Dukát, F. Gherardi, C. Hoppe, I. Hoste, K. Jax, L. Lindström, et al. 2013. Conceptual frameworks and methods for advancing invasion ecology. Ambio 42: 527–540.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Hirsch Hadorn, G., H. Hoffmann-Riem, S. Biber-Klemm, W. Grossenbacher-Mansuy, D. Joye, C. Pohl, U. Wiesmann, and E. Zemp. 2008. Handbook of transdisciplinary research. Berlin: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Hirsch, P.E., R. Eckmann, C. Oppelt, and J. Behrmann-Godel. 2013. Phenotypic and genetic divergence within a single whitefish form—Detecting the potential for future divergence. Evolutionary Applications 6: 1119–1132.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Hirsch, P.E., A. N’Guyen, I. Kalchhauser, and P. Burkardt-Holm. 2015. What do we really know about the impacts of one of the 100 worst invaders in Europe? A reality check. Ambio. doi: 10.1007/s13280-015-0718-9.
  24. Horan, R.D., C. Perrings, F. Lupi, and E.H. Bulte. 2002. Biological pollution prevention strategies under ignorance: The case of invasive species. American Journal of Agricultural Economics 84: 1303–1310.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. IKSR. 2015. The Rhine. Retrieved June 24, 2015, from
  26. Kalchhauser, I., P. Mutzner, P.E. Hirsch, and P. Burkhardt-Holm. 2013. Arrival of round goby Neogobius melanostomus (Pallas, 1814) and bighead goby Ponticola kessleri (Günther, 1861) in the High Rhine (Switzerland). BioInvasions Records 2: 79–83. doi: 10.3391/bir.2013.2.1.14.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Keller, R.P., K. Frang, and D.M. Lodge. 2008. Preventing the spread of invasive species: Economic benefits of intervention guided by ecological predictions. Conservation Biology: The Journal of the Society for Conservation Biology 22: 80–88.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Kettunen, M., P. Genovesi, S. Gollasch, S. Pagad, U. Starfinger, P. ten Brink, and C. Shine. 2009. Technical support to EU strategy on invasive alien species (IAS). London: Institut for European Environnemental Policy (IEEP).Google Scholar
  29. Kornis, M.S., S. Sharma, and J.M. Vander Zanden. 2013. Invasion success and impact of an invasive fish, round goby, in Great Lakes tributaries. Diversity and Distributions 19: 184–198.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Leung, B., D.M. Lodge, D. Finnoff, J.F. Shogren, M.A. Lewis, and G. Lamberti. 2002. An ounce of prevention or a pound of cure: Bioeconomic risk analysis of invasive species. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London. Series B: Biological Sciences 269: 2407–2413.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Lockwood, J.L., P. Cassey, and T.M. Blackburn. 2005. The role of propagule pressure in explaining species invasions. Trends in Ecology & Evolution 20: 223–228.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Moher, D., A. Liberati, J. Tetzlaff, and D.G. Altman. 2009. Preferred reporting items for systematic reviews and meta-analyses: The PRISMA statement. Annals of Internal Medicine 151: 264–269.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Nentwig, W. (ed.). 2007. Biological invasions. Berlin: Springer.Google Scholar
  34. Ojaveer, H., and J. Kotta. 2015. Ecosystem impacts of the widespread non-indigenous species in the Baltic Sea: Literature survey evidences major limitations in knowledge. Hydrobiologia 750: 171–185.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Pickering, C., and J. Byrne. 2014. The benefits of publishing systematic quantitative literature reviews for PhD candidates and other early-career researchers. Higher Education Research & Development 33: 534–548.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Pimentel, D., R. Zuniga, and D. Morrison. 2005. Update on the environmental and economic costs associated with alien-invasive species in the United States. Ecological Economics 52: 273–288.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Reed, M.S. 2008. Stakeholder participation for environmental management: A literature review. Biological Conservation 141: 2417–2431.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Rosendahl, J., M.A. Zanella, S. Rist, and J. Weigelt. 2015. Scientists’ situated knowledge: Strong objectivity in transdisciplinarity. Futures 65: 17–27.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Sala, O.E., F.S. Chapin, J.J. Armesto, E. Berlow, J. Bloomfield, R. Dirzo, E. Huber-Sanwald, L.F. Huenneke, et al. 2000. Global biodiversity scenarios for the year 2100. Science 287: 1770–1774.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity. 2005. Handbook of the convention on biological diversity including its Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety. Montreal: Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity.Google Scholar
  41. Seidl, R., F.S. Brand, M. Stauffacher, P. Krütli, Q.B. Le, A. Spörri, G. Meylan, C. Moser, et al. 2013. Science with society in the anthropocene. Ambio 42: 5–12.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Simberloff, D. 2009. We can eliminate invasions or live with them. Successful management projects. Biological Invasions 11: 149–157.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Simberloff, D., J.-L. Martin, P. Genovesi, V. Maris, D.A. Wardle, J. Aronson, F. Courchamp, B. Galil, et al. 2013. Impacts of biological invasions: What’s what and the way forward. Trends in Ecology & Evolution 28: 58–66.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Swiss Federal Council. 2008. Verordnung über den Umgang mit Organismen in der Umwelt [Ordinance on the Release of Organisms into the Environment]: FrSV.Google Scholar
  45. Vander Zanden, J.M., and J.D. Olden. 2008. A management framework for preventing the secondary spread of aquatic invasive species. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 65: 1512–1522.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Vander Zanden, J.M., G.J.A. Hansen, S.N. Higgins, and M.S. Kornis. 2010. A pound of prevention, plus a pound of cure: Early detection and eradication of invasive species in the Laurentian Great Lakes. Journal of Great Lakes Research 36: 199–205.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Vitule, J.R.S., C.A. Freire, and D. Simberloff. 2009. Introduction of non-native freshwater fish can certainly be bad. Fish and Fisheries 10: 98–108.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Walsh, J.C., L.V. Dicks, and W.J. Sutherland. 2015. The effect of scientific evidence on conservation practitioners’ management decisions. Conservation Biology 29: 88–98.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Research Centre for Sustainable Energy and Water SupplyUniversity of BaselBaselSwitzerland
  2. 2.Program Man-Society-Environment, Department of Environmental SciencesUniversity of BaselBaselSwitzerland
  3. 3.Department of Biological SciencesUniversity of AlbertaEdmontonCanada

Personalised recommendations