Europeana provides various ways to work with and reuse their data. For example, it is possible to create your own galleries for learning or information dissemination purposes using Europeana’s resources. OpenUp! focuses on providing thematic galleries with natural history data that combine natural and cultural history artefacts.

Follow the images to view the Europeana Galleries!

Invasive Species

If species spread to areas outside their native range as a result of global changes or human activity, they are referred to as invasive species. They can cause considerable damage by displacing native species or causing economic and health-related consequential costs. The topic of invasive species is everlasting in a world of globalization and climate change and can be depicted by many examples. The fauna as well as the flora of the world provide a large variety of species that became invasive due to different reasons.

OpenUp! wants to put the spotlight on invasive species in the European area and therefore looks at a different species every month, combining it with Europeana materials. As a foundation for the following chapters, which will be extended every month, serves the union’s list for invasive species from 2016. The list started with 37 animal and plant species not native to Europe and expands continuously. It exclusively takes up species that represent a threat to a union-wide area.

The Red Fire Ant (Sep 2023)

The fire ant originates in South America and is spreading – supported by climate change – over several contintents. Its habitats expanded due to the rising temperatures and general globalization to Mexico, USA, China, Taiwan, Australia and recently to Sicily. By reaching Europe the ant species is posing a grave threat to the local agriculture and biodiversity.

The species exerts feeding and competitive pressure on arthropods, reptiles, amphibians, birds and mammals. They reduce and displace other ants and can also have a negative impact on plant life by altering soil properties.

Solenopsis invicta Buren, 1972 by The Trustees of the Natural History Museum, London is licensed under CC BY 4.0

Additional Material

Water lettuce (Oct 2023)

Pistia stratiotes (water lettuce) is a water plant native to tropical and subtropical fresh water zones. The plant is very popular for ornamentic and aquarisitic purposes. The survival of the species in open terrain is favored by the rising temperatures which drive its dissemination. It adapts easily to changing conditions and shows a high reproduction rate. It will be added to the union’s list of invasive arts in Europe in August 2024 after a transition phase.

With rising temperatures the dissemination of the species is favored. Water lettuce forms a dense network and, if it develops en masse, can reduce solar radiation and thus light availability. This leads to hydrochemical and structural changes in the water body (e.g. oxygen and nitrite content) and affects water quality, which in turn has negative effects on other plants and animal species.

In addition, it has negative effects on a variety of uses of water bodies. Monodominant stocks affect navigation and fisheries, as well as agriculture (in rice crops), water management (blockage of irrigation canals), and recreational use of water bodies.

Pistia stratiotes by Real Jardín Botánico Madrid is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA

Additional Material

Spiny-cheek crayfish (Nov 2023)

The spiny-cheek crayfish (Orconectes limosus) originated in the east of North America and was brought to Europe at the end of the 19th century. The up to 12 cm long crayfish is widespread in various countries of middle Europe. They transmit a specific plague that threatens local crayfish species that don’t have any defense mechanisms against it. The reproduction of the species has a direct impact on plant and animal populations.

The current dissemination of the crayfish is favored by the transposition through humans. While the amount of crayfish in Europe is rising and local species are disappearing, the Orconectes limosus is fighting against extinction in its origínal habitat. By digging the material at the river banks, the species could enhance erosion and destabilize them.

Orconectes limosus (Rafinesque, 1817) by Botanischer Garten und Botanisches Museum Berlin is licensed under CC BY-SA

Additional Material