The COST Action Alien-CSI (Increasing understanding of alien species through citizen science), in which University of Cyprus is participating (Dr. Niki Chartosia, Department of Biological Sciences), is organising a BioBlitz in 12 European Countries. The protected wetland of Akrotiri, in Cyprus is one of the sites! BioBlitz is an intense period of biological surveying in an attempt to record all the living species within a designated area. Groups of scientists, naturalists and volunteers conduct an intensive field study over a continuous time period.

14,000 alien or non-native species have been introduced deliberately or unintentionally by people to Europe. Invasive alien species are species that threaten biodiversity, societies, economies, and human health.

Invasive alien species cost globally 70 billion USD per year. “In countries like Cyprus invasive alien species, alongside climate change and urban development, are a major threat on land, in lakes and rivers and the sea” says Dr Niki Chartosia, Marine Biologist at the University of Cyprus, Alien CSI MC member and organizer of the Alien CSI BioBlitz. “Some of the invasive alien species could also be a major threat to the tourism industry” says Dr Kelly Martinou,Head Entomologist at the Joint Services Health Unit and the Cyprus Institute, and Communication Manager of Alien CSI and local organizer of the Akrotiri 2022 BioBlitz.

Experts in conservation, human and animal health and invasion biology will team up with citizens and teachers to record biodiversity at the protected wetland of Akrotiri. The Akrotiri 2022 BioBlitz will be part of the European BioBlitz, organised by Alien CSI, expected to take place simultaneously in 12 European countries. We would like to invite everyone to come and work collaboratively with scientists to record the wildlife of Akrotiri. By teaming with experts in invasion ecology, citizens can help locate newly introduced invasive alien species like the common myna, an invasive bird that was recently introduced to Cyprus, record many established invasive alien species, and understand their impacts while discussing possible management actions.Contributions by citizens are key to the study of invasive alien species, the organisers said.

Alien-CSI is a research network funded by COST. The Action addresses multidisciplinary research questions in relation to developing and implementing Citizen Science, advancing scientific understanding of Alien Species dynamics while informing decision-making, specifically the implementation of technical requirements of relevant legislation such as the EU Regulation 1143/2014 on Invasive Alien Species.

Source: Cyprus News Agency