Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Alien Invaders on Radio 4

Gunnera tinctoria in Kintyre
Image: H. McHaffie OBE
Nice to hear author, journalist and BSBI member Ken Thompson on Radio 4's 'Start the Week' on Monday and now on iPlayer here

Ken writes for the Daily Telegraph on plants and gardening, and some of his articles mention BSBI, like this one and this one (although of course I disagree with Ken's comments about New Journal of Botany!)

The theme of this week's 'Start the Week' was Alien Invaders, and Ken had been invited on as his most recent book is called Where do Camels belong? The story and science of invasive species. There is a nice review of it here in New Scientist, where we are told that Ken displays a "healthy dose of sarcasm towards "aliens = bad" fundamentalists and argues for a case-by-case approach". 

This is in keeping with David Pearman's views, expressed in this discussion paper co-authored with Alex Lockton which, although it has been around for a few years, is still very pertinent and also a good read! 


Gunnera tinctoria on Achil Island
Image: M. Sheehy-Skeffington
Our President, Ian Denholm, also chose 'Alien Invaders and Native Thugs' as the theme for his State of Nature presentation last year, challenging preconceptions and generalisations about native plants but also flagging up recent observations by BSBI botanists on the spread of "escaped" Gunnera tinctoria in the Outer Hebrides and on Achil Island

Rob Marrs and co-authors also drew our attention to three native "thugs" in their recent paper in New Journal of Botany, which was itself based on a presentation Rob gave at our Mapping Conference in Edinburgh. 

Also on the panel for Monday's 'Alien Invaders' discussion on 'Start the Week' were Monique Simmonds from Kew, an NHM palaeontologist and a farmer who has published a book on meadows. Well worth a listen!