By Anthony Ricciardi (Redpath Museum and McGill School of Environment)
Driven by the movement of people and cargo across the planet, thousands of species of plants, animals and microbes are spreading into new regions faster and farther than at any other time in Earth's history. These “biological invasions” can cause extinctions, disrupt ecosystems, alter natural resources, threaten human health, and even pose national security problems. Despite these risks, some ecologists have advocated planned invasions to rescue species threatened by climate change. Termed "assisted colonization", their proposal involves moving potentially large numbers of species to favorable habitats well beyond their native range. This talk will evaluate this controversial strategy and the ecological and societal impacts of invasions worldwide. Dr. Anthony Ricciardi is an associate professor in both the Redpath Museum and the McGill School of Environment, where he teaches courses on animal diversity, environmental science, and the ecology of species invasions. He received his PhD from McGill (in 1997), and was an NSERC Postdoctoral Fellow at Université Laval and a Killam Fellow at Dalhousie University. He is an associate editor for the journal Diversity and Distributions and the journal Biological Invasions, and he serves on the scientific committee of the Canadian Aquatic Invasive Species Network – a national NSERC-funded research group that assesses the risks of invasion in Canada's lakes, rivers and coastal waters.