Dr Raj Whitlock receives Ecological Society of America award
by University of Liverpool
Dr Raj Whitlock, a Senior Lecturer in the University’s Institute of Infection, Veterinary and Ecological Sciences, is a 2021 recipient of the Ecological Society of America’s (ESA’s) prestigious George Mercer Award.
The award recognises an outstanding, recently published, ecological research paper written by younger scientists. Dr Whitlock and collaborators were recognised for the paper Disentangling the abundance–impact relationship for invasive species, which was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in 2019.
The research was the first global meta-analysis of how impacts on native species change as invasive alien species increase in their abundance. The research revealed that early intervention to eradicate invasive species could be key in mitigating their effects on native species. This is because invasive species – particularly those that can consume native species – tend to have their greatest negative effects while they are still at low abundance, soon after colonising a new environment. The discovery of these “non-linear” effects of invasive species using meta-analysis was a key breakthrough for the research team.