Glendon Biology Professor Radu Guiasu recently published a new book titled Non-native species and their role in the environment: The need for a broader perspective. The book was published by the prestigious academic publishing house Brill, based in The Netherlands.
The book offers a more tolerant, open-minded, and positive view of so-called “invasive” plant and animal species and challenges the prevailing negative attitudes against such species. This detailed work, which is based on several years of research, attempts to restore some balance to the current debate over the role of non-native species, by offering a broader perspective and taking a longer term, evolutionary look at these species and their impact in their new environments. The relatively arbitrary nature of terms such as “native” and “non-native” and the rather inconsistent ways in which these terms are applied to biological species, as well as the subjective boundaries of so-called “native ranges” are analyzed.
The role of non-native species in their new environments can be considerably more complex than the anti-introduced species information would often suggest. There is frequently quite a contrast between what we actually know about non-native species and their impact and the categorical claims made against them. Thus, the more positive and nuanced perspective on introduced species and their impact offered in this book is much needed and long overdue.
Non-native species and their role in the environment, which was endorsed by prominent North American ecologists such as Mark Davis and Paul Moore, may contribute to a paradigm shift in ecology and conservation biology. It may also perhaps lead to a general improvement in our attitudes towards non-native species and fewer unnecessary control programs against such species. Mark Davis, Professor of Biology at Macalester College, St. Paul, MN, wrote this about the book: “Radu Guiaşu has written a thoughtful and critical review of our ideas about non-native species. An aquatic ecologist, Guiaşu questions the common notion that introduced species represent a major global ecological calamity. This is a must read for anyone interested in conservation and biodiversity.”
Guiasu is the coordinator of the Biology Program and the Environmental and Health Studies Program at the Glendon Campus of York University. He is the 2009 recipient of the Glendon Principal’s Teaching Excellence Award, as well as the 2010 winner of the President’s University-Wide Teaching Excellence Award. He is also the author of a previous book, Entropy in ecology and ethology – co-authored with his father, York Professor Emeritus of Mathematics and Statistics, Silviu Guiasu – and about 30 specialized articles in fields such as ecology, conservation biology, animal behaviour, evolutionary biology, and systematics.