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BIOCOMPLEXITY--INCUBATION ACTIVITY: Risk Assessment of Nonindigenous Species

In assessing the risk to US society of nonindigenous species (NIS)-species introduced into an ecosystem in which they did not previously exist-this interdisciplinary team will use a model derived from economic theory to integrate ecological, economic, and social benefits and costs of NIS. In the freshwater ecosystems of the world, NIS are the leading cause of biodiversity loss; in most other ecosystems, NIS are one of the top three causes. Not only do NIS cause enormous ecological changes, but they also directly cause large economic losses and social change (e.g., as native harvestable resources are replaced by NIS). Although policies and regulations are being implementing to reduce the occurrence and impact of NIS (e.g., ballast regulations in the Great Lakes and coastal waters), these steps are being taken in the absence of a basic scientific understanding of the biological, economic, and social dimensions of the process of biological invasions. This team of aquatic ecologists, ecological modelers, and social scientists will develop an integrative approach to risk assessment of NIS, using the North American Great Lakes as a case study.

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