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Changes in pathways and vectors of biological invasions in Northwest Europe

Zieritz, Alexandra; Gallardo, Belinda; Baker, Simon J.; Britton, J. Robert; van Valkenburg, Johan L. C. H.; Verreycken, Hugo; Aldridge, David C.


Belinda Gallardo

Simon J. Baker

J. Robert Britton

Johan L. C. H. van Valkenburg

Hugo Verreycken

David C. Aldridge


We assessed how establishment patterns of non-native freshwater, marine and terrestrial species into Northwest Europe (using Great Britain, France, Belgium and the Netherlands as the study countries) have changed over time, and identified the prevalent pathways and vectors of recent arrivals. Data were extracted from 33 sources on (a) presence/absence and (b) first year of observation in the wild in each country, and (c) continent(s) of origin, (d) invasion pathway(s), (e) invasion vector(s) and (f) environment(s) for 359 species, comprising all non-native Mollusca, Osteichthyes (bony fish), Anseriformes (wildfowl) and Mammalia, and non-native invasive Angiospermae present in the area. Molluscs, fish and wildfowl, particularly those originating from South America, arrived more recently into Northwest Europe than other groups, particularly mammals, invasive plants and species originating from North America. Non-deliberate introductions, those of aquatic species and those from elsewhere in Europe and/or Asia increased strongly in importance after the year 2000 and were responsible for 69, 83 and 89 % of new introductions between 2001 and 2015, respectively. Non-deliberate introductions and those from Asia and North America contributed significantly more to introductions of invasive species in comparison to other non-native species. From the 1960s, ornamental trade has increased in importance relative to other vectors and was responsible for all deliberate introductions of study groups since 2001. Non-deliberate introductions of freshwater and marine species originating from Southeast Europe and Asia represent an increasingly important ecological and economic threat to Northwest Europe. Invertebrates such as molluscs may be particularly dangerous due to their small size and difficulties in detection. Prevention of future invasions in this respect will require intensive screening of stowaways on boats and raising of public awareness.


Zieritz, A., Gallardo, B., Baker, S. J., Britton, J. R., van Valkenburg, J. L. C. H., Verreycken, H., & Aldridge, D. C. (2017). Changes in pathways and vectors of biological invasions in Northwest Europe. Biological Invasions, 19(1), 269-282.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Sep 21, 2016
Online Publication Date Sep 30, 2016
Publication Date Jan 31, 2017
Deposit Date Feb 14, 2019
Journal Biological Invasions
Print ISSN 1387-3547
Electronic ISSN 1573-1464
Publisher Springer Verlag
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 19
Issue 1
Pages 269-282
Public URL
Publisher URL