The spread of alien species is a growing threat to our planet’s biodiversity. While they are already considered the second cause of biodiversity loss, the threat that they represent might considerably increase in the near future as the global change is consolidating: the habitat degradation, the increase of global trade and global warming will definitely help alien species to establish in new ranges. 

Aimed to contribute to the early detection of alien species, but also to investigate the establishment processes and invasion dynamics, several scientists at the Botanical Institute of Barcelona (IBB) and at the University of Barcelona (UB) have recently unified their expertise in different fields (demography, biogeography, genetics, genomics and ecology) to create XenoPlants. Our purpose is to study alien plants through an integrative perspective focused on:

(i) the early detection and inventorying of alien flora. This is the most cost-effective method for controlling alien species, as it may allow their eradication before they become established. Although our scope is global, most of our research is centered in our geographical area (the Iberian Peninsula and the Western Mediterranean basin). 

(ii) ecological niche modelling and niche comparison analyses, which help at identifying areas at higher invasion risk, both under present and future climatic conditions. This may ease the planning and design of preventive conservation measures by stakeholders (public or private). 

(iii) changes in the structure, composition and organisation of the genome (e.g. hybridization, polyploidy, chromosome rearrangements, changes in the repetitive fraction of the genome, epigenetic mechanisms), processes that are usually interrelated and associated to the invasion processes, which are still not well understood.