Invasive Aliens by Dan Eatherley

Wild at heart – new book reveals the Invasive Aliens which are now much-loved countryside residents

Pheasants and horse-chestnuts, ladybirds and sycamores are often seen as a quintessential part of the British countryside, but in fact they originally hail from other parts of the world.

The story behind these and a whole range of species who have made the UK their home, is told by Dan Eatherley, University of Exeter Business School research fellow and naturalist, in his new book Invasive Aliens.  

“There has been a lot of coverage in the news about some of the recent and more damaging species to have arrived here, such as the Asian hornet or Japanese knot-weed,” said Dan. “Yet the arrival of new species to our shores has been taking place since the first experiments of farming, through Roman and medieval times. While some have caused problems, others such as rabbits, snowdrops and daffodils are now a cherished part of the British countryside.”

Dan was inspired to write the book after taking a walk around Hampstead Heath in London and being struck by how much of the flora and fauna wasn’t originally native to the UK. 

Within his book Dan has delved into historic accounts of the arrival of new species, as well as accounts of today’s efforts by countryside managers to eliminate some pests. He also offers a glimpse into what the future might bring.

“In the past the cooler UK temperatures have put off many potential colonisers but changes to temperatures through climate change will change that,” added Dan. “We are already witnessing some species migrating further north, while others, such as tuna and cuttlefish which were associated with more southern climes, are starting to turn up on our shores. Exactly what will happen is impossible to predict but we will see new species coming to make their home here; for better or worse.”

Invasive Aliens is published by William Collins. As well as being a research fellow within the Centre for Circular Economy at the University of Exeter Business School, Dan is a naturalist and environmental consultant and has made wildlife documentaries for the BBC with Sir David Attenborough. He is also the author of Bushmaster: Raymond Ditmars and the Hunt for the World’s Largest Viper.

Date: 16 July 2019

Read more University News