Political ecology has been criticized for letting theory explain the character of natural resource management and resource conflicts. Network approaches/relational ontology (e.g. actor-network theory) are advocated as an alternative to political ecology. I have used this approach in my study of the multiple enactments of the sea snail Rapana in Turkish Black Sea waters: as “alien invasive species,” as a commercial resource, as haram (forbidden according to Islam), as foul smelling. Here I review how some recent political ecological analyses of biodiversity and introduced species fare in relation to the standards proposed by relational ontology. Yet, I am also interested in exploring overall trends in the development and effects of the biodiversity discourse and the ‘alarmist’ approach to introduced species. Therefore I consider the limits of relational ontology and discuss alternatives that can retain its specificity but also account for patterns, trends and shifts over the longer term occurring at multiple scales.