• Question: On a scale of 1 -10 how bad are do they affect humans and animals

    Asked by salty1410 to Asian Hornet, Daubenton's bat, Giant Hogweed, Leathery Sea Squirt, Lion's Mane Jellyfish, Oak Apple Gallwasp, Turkey Oak on 13 Nov 2017.
    • Photo: Turkey Oak

      Turkey Oak answered on 13 Nov 2017:

      As a dangerous species, Turkey Oak will be well down the list. It is not at all dangerous to man and other animals but it is a threat to native oak species in the UK.

    • Photo: Oak Apple Gallwasp

      Oak Apple Gallwasp answered on 13 Nov 2017:

      Gall wasps don’t cause direct harm to any animals – in fact, their galls are home to loads of other species – either the eating the gall wasp or the gall. And old galls are also homes for many ants and bees.
      Gall wasps do harm some plants that matter to us – particularly chestnut trees. Chestnut trees are important for farmers in countries like Italy and Spain, because of their nuts (which we eat, especially at Christmas!) and their useful wood. There is a gall wasp that can kill chestnut trees by causing so many galls that sap cannot flow through the tree’s shoots, and the leaves and buds all die.
      A genome would help us develop technologies to protect trees against pest gall wasps.

    • Photo: Daubenton's Bat

      Daubenton's Bat answered on 13 Nov 2017:

      I’m afraid although bats are in the Dangerous Zone we are far more deadly to bats in terms of what we do to their habitat than the bats are to humans, so I think I’d say just a 1 on your scale. Some Daubenton’s bats do carry a virus, European Bat Lyssavirus Type 2 (EBLV-2), that can infect people and cause rabies. However, you have to be bitten or scratched by an infected bat and you can easily avoid that by not handling a bat or if you have to, by wearing thick gloves. Only Daubenton’s bats are known to carry the virus in the UK and the only person who died was a Scottish bat worker before people who work with bats were routinely immunised against rabies. If you care bitten by a bat, wash you hands thoroughly straight away with soap and water, and get medical advice. There are post-exposure vaccinations available. You can call the National Bat Helpline if you need advice too.

    • Photo: Lion's Mane Jellyfish

      Lion's Mane Jellyfish answered on 13 Nov 2017:

      Currently we don’t know how many problems the Lion’s Mane is causing, but with rising jellyfish populations it could get bad quickly! Large Lion’s Mane blooms have the power to alter ecosystems by eating or killing large numbers of fish and larvae. Jellyfish as a group are also particularly good at handling pollution and increasing temperatures in the ocean where many other animals are not.

      They affect humans too – blooms of jellyfish can clog power plant intakes forcing them to shut down until the jellyfish are cleaned out. They can also damage fish farms, or fish stocks. Finally of course, nobody wants to be stung while swimming at the beach!

      Without more information (which will hopefully be provided by their genome!) its really difficult to assign a number to their impact – which is the same for all the species here! They all have very different but important impacts. Giving each one a number and deciding which is most important is often one of the most difficult things to do in science! (Which is why we’ve left it up to you guys!)

    • Photo: Giant Hogweed

      Giant Hogweed answered on 14 Nov 2017:

      I would say for humans the scale goes up to 5. But giant hogweed is very invasive and can grow everywhere making many native plant species “homeless”, so for plants I would say 9, which means DANGER!!

    • Photo: Asian Hornet

      Asian Hornet answered on 14 Nov 2017:

      If you are a bee, asian hornets represent a great danger (on a scale of 1 to 10 it would definitely be a 10!), as they love feeding on honeybees, killing them at apiaries and bringing back the thorax to their colonies. Bees are usually so scared from the asian hornet that they stop foraging, to avoid being caught! As bees pollinate 70 of the world’s 100 most consumed crops, imagine what the world would be like with fewer bees! Just to give an practical example, try to imagine your diet without oranges, coffee, almonds, berries, nuts, apples, plums, broccoli, tomatoes, squash.

      If you are a human (!) or another type of animal we’re also dangerous because of our nasty stings! If we sting you and you are allergic it can be very serious. So better to avoid us and especially our nests if possible!

    • Photo: Leathery Sea Squirt

      Leathery Sea Squirt answered on 18 Nov 2017:

      Sea squirts aren’t dangerous to humans (for now…but maybe one day we will learn to breath air and grow some legs and a taste for hunting).

      We are dangerous to other underwater animals. We are a tough and fast growing species, and we are rapidly spreading into lots of shallow ocean ecosystems as an invasive species. Animals in those ecosystems who haven’t evolved to share their environment with us can be threatened by this, because we take away the space and light and food they need.

      On the other hand, in some cases we can have positive effects on biodiversity – sometimes we can be benevolent invaders because we let other species grow on top of us, so we can actually create more space!

      Scientists would like to better understand how much of a threat we are to different species, and sequencing the sea squirt genome could be helpful there as by comparing the DNA of different sea squirts around the world, we can see how their populations grow and move