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.

ICAIS 2017  International Conference on Invasive Aquatic Species

Anaïs Rey (ESR5) and Phillip J. Haubrock (ESR7) visited the International Conference on Invasive Aquatic Species (ICAIS2017) in Fort Lauderdale to present their research and the AQUAINVAD-ed project as part of the 4 day conference. During their time at the conference they were able to meet with fellow researchers, managers and stakeholders from all over the world working with invasive species.

Each day started with an initial presentation by a world leading expert including Prof. Darren C. J. Yeo (National University of Singapore) or Prof. David Lodge (Cornell University) on pressing issues in invasive species science, followed by daily changing themed presentations.

Anaïs Rey presented her work on the implementation of DNA metabarcoding as a cost-effective tool to provide biological data for port baseline survey. She emphasized on the description of the comprehensive sampling done in the port of Bilbao and presented her preliminary results – “I enjoyed the multidisciplinary talks related to aquatic invasive species management. I had the opportunity to exchange ideas with researchers interested in our project but also to discuss about the feasibility of developing our project in other ports with managers from maritime transport areas.”

Phillip J. Haubrock presented his work on the impact assessment of the North American Channel Catfish Ictalurus punctatus in Florence, Italy on the third day of the conference. He spoke about his recently gained results and further aims – “I enjoyed the exchange with biologists from various fields and the exchange I had with interested scientists about my work. I will return to my project with many new ideas and even more motivated.”



MSCA 2017 Conference: Mobility takes Research further – 11th/12th May 2017,Kalkara, Malta

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.


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. ”


Our partners from the University of Florence and NEMO attended NEOBIOTA 2016 in Vianden, Luxembourg and here our Early Stage Researcher Phil tells us a little more about his experience there:

Although Neobiota2016 was dominated by botany related presentations, I had a very positive experience in Vianden, Luxembourg and received only positive feedback on the AQUAINVAD-ED project.

I had the chance to listen to various impressive presentations and meet many incredible people working on invasive species such as Prof. Gordon Copp (Bournemouth University), Prof. Phil Hulme (Lincoln University) or Dr. Sarah Descamps (Hasselt University).

Furthermore I gained a lot of insight into different aspects of invasive species research and received good feedback on and suggestions for my research. Participating in Neobiota2016 was definitely a valuable experience and I am thankful for this experience.






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”.

XXXIII SIL (International Society of Limnology) Congress in Turin

Our Swansea University based Early Stage Researcher Matteo Rolla recently attended the XXXIII SIL (International Society of Limnology) Congress in Turin (Italy) presenting a poster on his current PhD research entitled: Invading together: preliminary results on zebra mussel (Dreissena polymorpha) and killer shrimp (Dikerogammarus villosus) interactions.

Matteo explained “I had the chance to listen to many talks and was particularly interested in the freshwater invasive species sessions, I had the opportunity to talk with researchers experienced in my target species, such as Prof. Karl-Otto Rothhaupt (Konstanz University), Dr. Susanne Worischka (Koblenz University) and Prof. Gea-Jae Joo (Pusan National University), receiving feedback on my current work and useful suggestions to improve my research. The experience was definitely positive, I had the opportunity to talk about my work, to promote the Aquainvad-ed project and to network”.

Matteo - SIL Congress 1

MCAA General Assembly & Annual Conference: Venice, 4-5 March 2016.

Sabine Rech, our E.S.R based at the Universidad de Oviedo took part in the recent conference of the Marie Curie Alumni Association, where she presented her poster and gave an overview of knowledge and knowledge gaps with respect to marine plastic pollution and the transport of non-native species.


sabine poster presentation

Here is an excert from her presentation :

Marine anthropogenic debris is a ubiquitous problem, posing a variety of threats to natural environments. A major concern, which has scarcely been investigated until now, is the ability of floating litter items or fragments to transport attached biota over large distances, thereby acting as a vector for the spreading of invasive species. Several authors describe this phenomenon and localized studies are available from some parts of the world. However, in this moment, there is no comprehensive understanding of the exact processes of colonization of and transport by floating debris items on a large geographical scale. In this poster, the current state of knowledge about floating marine litter as a vector for the transport of invasive species and its pathways is presented. Emphasis is laid on the role of fisheries and aquaculture, as well as estuarine regions, as the convergence zones of marine and freshwater environments.

Knowledge gaps are identified and the risk posed to different environments and areas is estimated. As a result we present concrete goals for future research and management priorities.