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      Some reflections on current invasion science and perspectives for an exciting future

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      NeoBiota

      Pensoft Publishers

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          Abstract

          Species spreading beyond their native ranges are important study objects in ecology and environmental sciences and research on biological invasions is thriving. Along with an increase in the number of publications, the research field is experiencing an increase in the diversity of methods applied and questions asked. This development has facilitated an upsurge in information on invasions, but it also creates conceptual and practical challenges. To provide more transparency on which kind of research is actually done in the field, the distinction between invasion science, encompassing the full spectrum of studies on biological invasions and the sub-field of invasion biology, studying patterns and mechanisms of species invasions with a focus on biological research questions, can be useful. Although covering a smaller range of topics, invasion biology today still is the driving force in invasion science and we discuss challenges stemming from its embeddedness in the social context. Invasion biology consists of the building blocks ‘theory’, ‘case studies’ and ‘application’, where theory takes the form of conceptual frameworks, major hypotheses and statistical generalisations. Referencing recent work in philosophy of science, we argue that invasion biology, like other biological or ecological disciplines, does not rely on the development of an all-encompassing theory in order to be efficient. We suggest, however, that theory development is nonetheless necessary and propose improvements. Recent advances in data visualisation, machine learning and semantic modelling are providing opportunities for enhancing knowledge management and presentation and we suggest that invasion science should use these to transform its ways of publishing, archiving and visualising research. Along with a stronger focus on studies going beyond purely biological questions, this would facilitate the efficient prevention and management of biological invasions.

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          Most cited references 76

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          A general framework for analyzing sustainability of social-ecological systems.

           Elinor Ostrom (2009)
          A major problem worldwide is the potential loss of fisheries, forests, and water resources. Understanding of the processes that lead to improvements in or deterioration of natural resources is limited, because scientific disciplines use different concepts and languages to describe and explain complex social-ecological systems (SESs). Without a common framework to organize findings, isolated knowledge does not cumulate. Until recently, accepted theory has assumed that resource users will never self-organize to maintain their resources and that governments must impose solutions. Research in multiple disciplines, however, has found that some government policies accelerate resource destruction, whereas some resource users have invested their time and energy to achieve sustainability. A general framework is used to identify 10 subsystem variables that affect the likelihood of self-organization in efforts to achieve a sustainable SES.
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            The FAIR Guiding Principles for scientific data management and stewardship

            There is an urgent need to improve the infrastructure supporting the reuse of scholarly data. A diverse set of stakeholders—representing academia, industry, funding agencies, and scholarly publishers—have come together to design and jointly endorse a concise and measureable set of principles that we refer to as the FAIR Data Principles. The intent is that these may act as a guideline for those wishing to enhance the reusability of their data holdings. Distinct from peer initiatives that focus on the human scholar, the FAIR Principles put specific emphasis on enhancing the ability of machines to automatically find and use the data, in addition to supporting its reuse by individuals. This Comment is the first formal publication of the FAIR Principles, and includes the rationale behind them, and some exemplar implementations in the community.
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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                (View ORCID Profile)
                (View ORCID Profile)
                Journal
                NeoBiota
                NB
                Pensoft Publishers
                1314-2488
                1619-0033
                September 17 2021
                September 17 2021
                : 68
                : 79-100
                Article
                10.3897/neobiota.68.68997
                © 2021

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