Tracking invasive alien species: building a data-driven framework to inform policy.

Project Details


Main research question/goal
The now-ended project TrIAS successfully generated knowledge exchange and transparent workflows among all Belgian actors involved with invasive alien species. These are species either intentionally or unintentionally introduced by humans which threaten local ecosystems that can cause significant losses of biodiversity. In recent years Belgium has already developed several tools to support the policy of introduced species, such as a register of experts and administrators, risk assessment protocols and an early warning system. But the frequent and fragmented sources still often slow the flow of data into science and policy. TrIAS addressed all of these challenges by implementing Open Science workflows in all the partner organisations with the aim of changing the way biodiversity monitoring is done. 


Research approach

All data (types of lists and observations) around invasive species in the terrestrial and aquatic environment were traced, processed and made available as open data. TrIAS ensured reproducible, open and automated workflows. From these open data, certain indicators for invasive alien species were developed, to allow monitoring and detection in a more automated way. There are twenty-two risk assessments of emerging alien species in Belgium executed, whereof for 4 marine species. 

TrIAS leaves a legacy of published data, repeatable data workflows, trained scientists, scientific publications and policy relevant information. TrIAS represents the successful realization of a dream: a fully integrated flow of data and information on invasive species in Belgium to support decision making in invasive alien species. Furthermore we have shown how Belgian organizations can work together to create such an integrated stream of data. All outputs of TrIAS are open and available for use, reuse and can be repurposed for biodiversity monitoring anywhere. There are still improvements that can be made to accelerate the process and make the infrastructure more user friendly. We still need to ensure all stakeholders benefit and that the outputs are suitable to their needs. The marine partners in TrIAS (ILVO and VLIZ) will further use this for a more efficient follow-up and management of alien species in the marine ecosystem, and as a result of which we will be able to answer any policy questions in a more targeted way.
Effective start/end date15/12/1630/09/21

Flemish Discipline list

  • Invasion biology
  • Animal ecology
  • Marine ecology
  • Invertebrate biology
  • Environmental management
  • Environmental monitoring
  • Aquatic biology
  • Environmental impact and risk assessment
  • Conservation and biodiversity