“Poster children” of invasion over-represented in marine research

In collaboration with PhD students Jillian Dunic, Hannah Watkins and Helen Yan, Dr. Isabelle Côté recently published “Research biases create over-represented “poster children” of marine invasion ecology“, examining gaps in the current research and understanding of non-native marine species, which are increasingly recognized as a threat to the world’s oceans, yet are poorly understood relative to their terrestrial and freshwater counterparts.

Dr. Côté and her team conducted a comprehensive review of over 2200 academic articles, finding that the ecological impact of less than ten percent of the world’s non-native marine species had been studied, representing a significant gap in knowledge about most marine invasive species, and creating a disproportionately well-known few that have become representatives or “poster children” of marine invasion.   

Research biases create over-represented “poster children” of marine invasion ecology. 2021, Hannah V. Watkins, Helen F. Yan, Jillian C. Dunic, Isabelle M. Côté.  https://doi.org/10.1111/conl.12802

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Dr. Isabelle M. Côté is a professor of marine ecology and leads the Marine Ecology Lab at SFU, which engages in extensive applied research on marine ecosystems. Isabelle has been an instructor and researcher here at the BMSC for many years.

Some of the most studied “poster children” of marine invasive species: Sea Walnut (Mnemiopsis leidyi); Northern Pacific sea star (Asterias amurensis), and Lionfish (Pterois volitans/miles)
[Photo Credit: SFU Research, Smithsonian Ocean, Wikipedia]