The AquaInvaders project is a collaboration between the The Environment Agency, the Scottish Environment Protection Agency, Scottish Natural Heritage, the British Sub-Aqua Club, the University of Bristol and the Biological Records Centre. We have joined forces to help combat the spread of the UK’s most problematic invasive, non-native freshwater aquatic animal species.
What is the AquaInvaders project trying to achieve?
The main aim is to locate incidences of a number of high priority invasive, non-native freshwater aquatic animal species. A large number of our water bodies are affected by invasive, non-native species and in many areas they have brought with them significant problems for our indigenous wildlife. With your help we hope to build the most complete picture of where these creatures are and, where possible, take appropriate measures to prevent further spread.
Why an App?
Obtaining accurate data about the distribution of invasive species is of paramount importance when it comes to assessing impact and formulating a response. But data provision is often patchy and records are usually unverifiable and lacking accurate geographic reference.
The AquaInvaders project has addressed these problems by combining the development of a smartphone application with the power of crowd-sourcing data collection, that's to say the app enables real data to be collected by interested members of the public in the field. Critically, each record collected is verifiable since it is comprised of a photograph along with other relevant metadata. Records are also accurately geo-located since the app utilises the phone’s inbuilt GPS capabilities, often resolving the location to a matter of metres.
Another benefit of the app is that we have built photographic ID guides into it for you, so that you'll be able to more easily distinguish those nasty non-natives from our similar looking indigenous plants - phew!
What happens to the records?
Data collected by the AquInvaders app is being stored in the “Indicia” data warehouse, hosted by the Biological Records Centre on behalf of the volunteer recording community in Great Britain. Indicia provides a facility for verifying observations submitted through the App and ensures that data is made available to the relevant national recording schemes. For more information about Indicia here
The data is also being passed through to the Biological Records Centre's new system iRecord. The goal of iRecord is to make it easier for wildlife sightings to be collated, checked by experts and made available to support research and decision-making at local and national levels. If you want to be able to generate reports of data for your area from AquaInvaders contact Dave Kilbey at the address below