The project is funded through a BIODIVERSA call and aims to investigate the INVAsive biology of XENopus laevis in Europe (INVAXEN) by studying the ecology and impact of X. laevis and by building predictive models. Xenopus laevis is one of the world's most widely distributed amphibians with invasive populations having become established on four continents due to both accidental escape and voluntary release of laboratory animals . The impacts of invasive X. laevis on native populations of amphibians and fish has been documented in several cases [2-5], yet systematic studies focusing not only on vertebrate but also invertebrate communities are lacking. Moreover, X. laevis has been implicated in the global transmission of disease including chytridiomycosis, a disease cited as one of the principal causes for the global decline in amphibians [6-8]. A recent study suggested that a global level the invasion potential of X. laevis has been severely underestimated with many areas potentially being susceptible to the invasion of X. laevis . The presence of the species in laboratories world-wide and being one of the most commonly traded amphibians  makes it one of the most critically important species to follow. This species is of concern in Europe as it is known to be invasive in at least four countries (France, Portugal, Italy and the U.K.) and the suggested suitable climatic space covers over one million square kilometers making this species of pan-European concern .
We propose to study the invasive biology of X. laevis by bringing together a team of experts from four countries that will provide complementary data to better understand the biology, dispersal patterns, physiology, impact on local populations and its invasive potential. Moreover, we will evaluate an ongoing eradication program of this species in France and Portugal. Three work packages devoted to studying the ecology, physiology, and population genetics of both invasive and native populations will be integrated in a fourth work package where these data will be incorporated into predictive species distribution models that take into account the biology of the species.
BiodivERsA is very happy to announce the release of its third animated video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m1gVZHO_L80) presenting the results of the INVAXEN research project. The BiodivERsA Prize is awarded on a yearly basis to showcase the achievements of BiodivERsA-funded projects that have produced excellent science with concrete impacts for policy and/or society. The Belgian Biodiversity Platform & BiodivERsA led the production of this video, along with the INVAXEN project researchers and the video production company, Squarefish.
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