The main research goal of AQUAINVAD-ED is to exploit novel molecular advances combined with the power of crowd data sourcing (citizen science) to develop innovative methods of early detection, control and management of AIS.

As part of her research ESR Teja has been working with Cardiff Harbour Authority, here she tells us a little more about the work she has been undertaking.

In 2004  Cardiff Harbour Authority (CHA) discovered a newly introduced invasive species of zebra mussels (Dreissena polymorpha) in the bay which could have been introduced by visiting vessels. This was the first confirmed sighting of zebra mussels in Wales. Killer shrimp (Dikerogammarus villosus) arrived late to Great Britain compared to other European freshwater locations but had been confirmed at Cardiff Bay in November 2010.

Currently both species are present but the extent of their dispersal and threat remains unknown, therefore we have designed an experiment which will be able to measure their biofouling success rates as well as provide rough estimations of their abundance in Cardiff Bay through environmental DNA (eDNA) barcoding technique. Water samples have been collected from 5 different stations where continuous water quality monitoring buoys are established. The sampling points were chosen by the highest possible density variation of species D. villosus and D. polymorpha as well as covering the widest possible environmental conditions within the bay including the outlets of both rivers.

Biofouling success

As a corresponding measure to the environmental DNA barcoding quantification techniques, we have also designed an experiment to measure the biofouling success rate through density and biomass growth of both species. For that reason, we have designed two types of experimental cages and plates, where we will be able to successfully measure the growth rate over a 6 month, warmer period, in the bay.

July 12th, 2017

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Congratulations to our #H2020 ESR Anaïs based at AZTI in Spain !!!

Her review on the potential of genetic tools for ballast water monitoring which she co-wrote with her supervisors Naiara and Oihane has been published in Journal of Sea Research in June 2017




June 30th, 2017

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‘La Voz de Aviles’ a local newspaper is Spain recently published an article on the Citizen Science game “Find the Invasive Seaweed” created by our ESR Roberta Skukan.

June 7th, 2017

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On Monday the 15th of May, our ESR Phillip Haubrock accompanied Thomas Busatto and Dr. Annamaria Nocita from the Natural History Museum “La Specola” on a field trip along the river Elsa in the south-west province of Florence, Tuscany. The aim was a momentary evaluation of the present biodiversity and water quality assessment using the macro benthos at four different locations which are currently affected by the construction of water turbines. Using electro fishing and a set of motivated hands, various fish species were collected, identified, measured and eventually released. Among native species, several alien species such as Pseudorasbora parva, Padogobius nigricans and Procambarus clarkii were identified.

“I really enjoyed this experience of monitoring activity. Not only did I learn a great deal about the taxonomy of local fish species, I also learned a lot about the technique and method applied. Especially seeing such distinct, well-hidden and beautiful places in the Tuscan countryside was incredible.”


May 18th, 2017

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Iva Johovic and Phillip J. Haubrock, our Early Stage Researchers took part in the 2017 MSCA (Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions) Maltese Presidency conference – Mobility takes Research further.

The overall objective of the conference was to discuss and reflect on the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions and mobility which is a key requirement of this actions. This was done through sets of debates and TED like speeches from researchers who shared their experiences. Marie Sklodowska-Curie Prizes for the outstanding achievements in 3 categories: “Innovation and Entrepreneurship”, “Communicating Science” and “Contribution to a better society” were given to the best one in each category as a part of the Awards Ceremony.



Phillip J. Haubrock:
“Having the opportunity to attend this conference was incredible. Not just did get a chance to visit an incredibly beautiful place and had the chance to meet many very interesting people in administration, industry and research, but I furthermore had the chance to gain insight into further future possibilities offered by MSCA. During the parallel sessions, I attended the “Ethics in Science” discussion and was astonished by the problems someone usually does not mention when considering fellowships, publications or research in general. I was especially fascinated by the diversity of scholarships and the impressive work various people I met had accomplished due to the possibilities and mobility offered by MSCA.”

Iva Johovic:
“To get the opportunity to see so much amazing scientists from different fields on the one place and to listen to their scientific journey stories and how their ideas led to interesting discoveries and how they managed to improve the world we live in was incredibly motivating for me. The speech held by Martine Reichert, Director-General for Education and Culture reminded me how much I gained by participating in ERASMUS exchange before and how positively cooperation and training I got from different researchers influenced my professional development in the last year and half since I started to be a part of MSCA ITN Aquainvad-ed. I am really glad that the MSCA funds will be increased even more in upcoming years and that even more researchers will have the opportunity to improve their research by the mobility it offers. “

May 18th, 2017

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Our project mid-term meeting and second Advanced Training Course recently took place and was hosted by our project partner AZTI at their offices in Txatxarramendi.

This event provided an ideal opportunity for our Early Stage Researchers to meet and catch up with each other, to present their research to date to the consortium and also to the EC Project Officer and to also take part in training which would enhance their knowledge and understanding of genetic methods and GIS.











May 18th, 2017

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As part of Invasive Species Week 2017, the Aquainvad-ED project and the Early Stage Researchers based at Swansea University hosted an event at the Oriel Science Gallery in Swansea.

Numerous activities were available for the visitors to take part in during the day plus a mini-poster exhibition highlighted the work undertaken by the ESRs to date with them also on hand to answer any questions from the public.



Some of our younger visitors also had the opportunity to see some of the Invasive Species we work with close up.



Over 240 visitors came along to the day and it is hoped that another such event will run again in the Autumn/Winter.


March 6th, 2017

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Find out more about what our Early Stage Researchers have been up to in 2016 by reading our ‘Researcher Round-up’ – Aquainvad-ed Research Update Dec 2016



December 19th, 2016

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Our Swansea University based ESR Marta has designed a simple survey to gather the public’s knowledge and understanding of Invasive Species.

Marta said of the survey “Citizen attitudes to invasive species is key for achieving higher effectiveness on any proposed mitigation measure, since the most successful management approaches are those that gain social support. Also, incorporating  public opinions helps with the design of education campaigns and facilitates citizen engagement in prevention activities. So, that is why we would like to take into account your opinion about invasive species with the aim of make our environment better. We will be really grateful for your support”.

The survey can be found at:



October 27th, 2016

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Iva Johovic, our Early Stage Researcher hosted by the University of Florence, Italy, also participated in the NEOBIOTA 2016 Conference and presented a poster on her research to date , this is what she told us about her experience there:

“Having the opportunity to participate in a conference that brings together such a large number of botanists, zoologists, basic and applied scientists, authorities and stakeholders to learn, think and talk about biological invasions is, in a word, inspirational.

In addition to the comprehensive program covering a wide range of different topics concerning different taxonomic groups and types of ecosystem in different parts of the world, is was also a unique opportunity to meet a large number of professionals working with the same group of organisms, using the same methods or trying new and innovative ones. It was also certainly an opportunity for scientists to present their work, share experiences, and create new ideas and cooperation. It was important for me, because I feel that I am still at the beginning of my career as a researcher, that I have a lot of room for improvement, and I want to make good use of my time and achieve as much as possible in the least amount of time.

As far as this part is concerned, the conference absolutely met my expectations. Nonetheless, the general feeling of many participants, which I share, was that the conference unfortunately did not equally represent botanical and zoological part in terms of oral presentations. However, everything was communicated to the organizers in the end, and I fully believe that something like this will not happen again and I hope to have the opportunity to participate in the next NEOBIOTA conference”.



October 11th, 2016

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