Is there an alien living in your garden?

Invasive species week is coming March 27th to April 2nd, but what are Invasive Species, how do they get in to our gardens, parks and waterways and why should we care about them? Come and meet ‘alien’ species close up, including Crayfish and Killer Shrimp at Swansea University’s Oriel Science on Saturday 1st April 2017 for our Invasive Species workshop.

Oriel science header

As part of Invasive Species Week 2017, Swansea University’s Aquainvad-ED ( and AquaWales ( projects will be hosting a fun filled day where you’ll be able to design your own invasive species, take part in quizzes, listen to talks from our Scientists and make Alien Goo to take home with you!

Professor Sonia Consuegra from Swansea University said “Visitors to our invasive species workshop will be able to meet our Scientists, find out about our research on ‘alien’ species and see some of the animals we study close-up.  All activities are free and suitable for all ages. We will be in Oriel Science in Princess Way from 10am to 4pm on April 1st.”

Oriel Science Killer Shrimp

American signal crayfish is an alien species which causes huge problems in waterways in the UK. Signal crayfish were introduced by escaping from crayfish farms in 1970 and they destroy river banks through burrowing, eat young fish species and introduce diseases which our UK crayfish catch and don’t recover from. Signal crayfish grow fast and are much more aggressive than our UK native crayfish and are better at finding food and shelter, meaning the numbers of signal crayfish in the UK have boomed since 1970.


Oriel science Invasive species collecting  

Scientist Teja Muha collecting water samples from the Afan River. Teja works in the Aquainvad-ED project at Swansea University and she collects water so she can analyse the DNA that is present in the samples to look for ‘alien’ species, such as killer shrimp and zebra mussels. Analysing water allows Teja to monitor what ‘alien’ species are living in different rivers without her ever actually having to see the animals themselves.


Mary Gagen, Deputy Director of Oriel Science said: “the interesting thing about invasive species is that most of them didn't invade at all, Japanese knotweed was introduced to the UK by the Victorians in the 1800s, whilst the Signal Crayfish was introduced to fish farms in the 1970s. Ecological monitoring is really important to understand the impact such species have on our green spaces and water ways”

Oriel Science Invasive species sampling   

Scientist Matteo Rolla collects ‘alien’ zebra mussels and killer shrimps from Cardiff Bay for his experiments. Matteo works with Teja on the Aquainvad-ED project and carries out experiments looking at the interactions between these two invasive species to try to better understand potential synergies that could make those alien species so successful.




Oriel Science, in partnership with Swansea University, will be hosting its Invasive Species Day on Saturday 1 April, from 10 am – 4 pm at Princess Way, Swansea, SA1 5HE. And it’s all FREE!

In addition to enjoying the Invasive Species Day activities visitors will also be able to continue to visit ‘The ‘Story of Time’ exhibition in Oriel Science. Where does the time go? Can time really fly? Is time just an illusion? The Story of Time exhibition answers these questions.

Guarded by the Tardis and a Back to the Future DeLorean car, visitors can meander through, interact with, listen, look, touch and generally play around with exhibits around the theme of Time. Discover how the Higgs boson, often called the “God particle”, was first detected in the mock-up of CERN’s Large Hadron Collider, see a glacial calving in Greenland, tell the time with tree rings, witness the history of the universe displayed on a 30 metre time wall, and hear the sounds of deep space as you watch a time lapse video of the southern stars.

Suitable for all ages, Oriel Science’s mission is to bring the wonders of Science to the public through exhibitions on a scientific theme, which will inspire visitors to think and explore how science and technology impact their daily lives.

  • Oriel Science is located in Princess Way, Swansea, SA1 5HE. Between Castle Square and The Kingsway, next to Zinco Lounge.
  • Admission is free and is open Saturdays and Sundays, 10am till 4pm. Available for school visits (during the week) by appointment. Please email:

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