Global Biodiversity Sub-Committee Thematic Reports


Arctic Biodiversity Research


In September 2008 the GBSC held a substantive discussion on Arctic biodiversity research, led by presentations from Dr Tavis Potts (Centre for Coastal and Ocean Governance, Scottish Association for Marine Scientists) and Richard Betts (Arctic and Antarctic Policy Adviser, Polar Regions Unit, Foreign and Commonwealth Office). A working group was created to consider the priority Arctic biodiversity research issues, led by the JNCC. Experts were invited to a workshop in October 2009 to address some of the issues raised by the GBSC.


Initial report of the GBSC Arctic Biodiversity Research workshop October 2009  (PDF 70, kb)  


Didcot power station, UK, © Karen Dickinson

Biodiversity and Climate Change


In June 2007 the GBSC co-hosted a meeting with the Royal Society to investigate the inter-linkages between biodiversity, climate change, and human livelihoods and the potential role for biodiversity management in climate change mitigation and adaptation.
North American Signal Crayfish Pacifastacus leniusculus, Matt Brazier, Environment Agency © Crown Copyright 2009

Invasive alien species


In May 2006 the GBSC held a substanitve discussion on invasive alien species (IAS), led by a presentation from Sean Murphy of CABI Biosciene. A sub-group of experts was established to consider research priorities and guide future funding decisions. The following paper summarises the findings and proposes a small number of international IAS issues that would benefit from UK-funded research.

Millennium Ecosystem Assessment


In February 2006 the GBSC hosted a one-day workshop to evaluate the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (MA) and to develop an overview of it's strengths and weaknesses.
Evaluating the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment: messages, knowledge gaps and policy implications - full report of the workshop (PDF, 84 kb)
Millennium Ecosystem Assessment documents © JNCC
Recommendations from the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment workshop (PDF, 36 kb)



Multilateral Environmental Agreements

One of the first tasks the GBSC Secretariat undertook following establishment of the group in late 2004 was to collate an information paper on 7 of the key biodiversity interntational conventions. The paper was updated in 2008 and it includes an overview of each convention's objectives and commitments, the governance structure and scientific element of the convention and the UK point of contact.
In March 2009 the GBSC considered a discussion paper on biodiversity multilateral environmental agreements.
In May 2009 the JNCC-hosted a one-day workshop on Multilateral Environmental Agreements

Ocean Acidification

British Virgin Islands partially bleached coral © BVI National Trust


Following a presentation by Carol Turley, Plymouth Marine Laboratory at the February 2006 GBSC meeting, an expert working group was formed to assess the current research actitivies and identify the research priorities.


The GBSC report on ocean acidification provides a brief summary of the key issues, considers current predictions for pH change and their implications for marine organisms, outlines current activities and research, both internationally and at a

European level, and identifies research issues and key knowledge gaps to be addressed. Crucially, the report identifies the need for a more coherent funding

regime to support high quality science, and the facilitation of collaborative work between research institutes and universities.



Bird research in Montserrat © G. Hilton, RSPB


UK Overseas Territories

In February 2007 the GBSC raised the issue of the UK OTs in the context of gaps in national capacity. The JNCC took the lead role in running a broad consultation exercise with the UK OTs to identify their research priorities. The responses to the consultation were analysed by considering which of the drivers of biodiversity loss as identified by the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment each research need addressed. The analysis showed the research priorities identified the following 3 drivers of biodiversity loss significantly more frequently than others: invasive alien species, habitat transformation and over exploitation.