Experts' profiles - Michael Browne
Michael Browne
Former manager of the Global Invasive Species Database (GISD)
My role as manager of the Global Invasive Species Database ( was to facilitate the exchange of invasive species data and information by ensuring the platform for success was completely sound. My activities included maintenance and enhancement of the GISD and its supporting infrastructure (including funding and voluntary experts), establishing and managing strategic partnerships, and a strong focus on the needs of end users. I have co-authored a number of papers on the exchange of invasive species data and information and have organised and participated in many related workshops.

My major achievements include:
Taking the Global Invasive Species Database (GISD) project from a prototype to the unique and globally significant resource that it is today.
Initiating a prototype Global Register of Invasive Species (GRIS), which can be used e.g. for coarse pre-import screening of potentially harmful organisms.
Contributing to development of the Global Invasive Species Information Network (, which provides a framework for the exchange of invasive species data and information between databases via the internet.

With this work to date, we have reasonably good knowledge about many of the usual suspects, but huge geographic and taxonomic information gaps remain. There may be upwards of 30,000 species known to negatively impact biodiversity. We havent yet collected their names and we dont know much about most of them, so theres plenty of work still to be done. I hope to continue contributing to this effort using the skills and experience I have accumulated over the past 8 years, as a member of the ISSG and of the GISIN Steering Team.

I attended university in my early 40s, graduating from the University of Auckland in 2000 with a Bachelor of Arts in Geography and specialising in Geographic Information Systems. Prior to that, I ran a successful transport business in Auckland which provided me with entrepreneurial and customer service skills. I spent a significant part of my youth in Europe, living and working with people from other cultures, so I developed good language and communication skills. I am fluent in French and Italian, and I am familiar with Maoritanga and Te Reo Maori.

Michael will be discussing: The crucial role of information exchange for effective responses to biological invasions, and an assessment of current efforts to assemble globalscale invasive species data and information.
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