Lessons learned from the Slovenia meeting

  • Biologists have come a long way assessing ex post the invasiveness of a species. They call this Biological Traits Analysis: looking at what a species eats, how it reproduces, how it spreads, and so on. It gives them a rough idea how the species will behave when introduced in, say, the North Sea: how quick it may spread, whether it will do any damage, how much damage it will do, and so on. Even a rough estimate of these variables can help the aforementioned tradeoff between limiting access, limiting spread, and suffering/enjoying the consequences.
  • Some biologists simulate animal behaviour assuming that the animal maximizes some objective, just like economists simulate human behaviour assuming that humans maximize their utility. Funnily, they get away with it, but apply the same principle to humans and people complain that humans “are not like that”. (Mind you, I’m not complaining, it was a biologist who pointed this out to me.) Are humans any different?
  • One of the biologists on the project named a jellyfish after Frank Zappa.

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