Alien Pathogens on the Horizon: Opportunities for Predicting their Threat to Wildlife

Roy Helen E.
Hesketh Helen
Purse Bethan V.
Eilenberg Jørgen
Santini Alberto
Scalera Riccardo
Stentiford Grant D.
Adriaens Tim
Bacela-Spychalska Karolina
Bass David
Beckmann Katie M.
Bessell Paul
Bojko Jamie
Booy Olaf
Cardoso Ana Cristina
Essl Franz
Groom Quentin
Harrower Colin A
Kleespies Regina
Martinou Angeliki F.
van Oers Monique M.
Peeler Edmund J.
Pergl Jan
Rabitsch Wolfgang
Roques Alain
Schaffner Francis
Schindler Stefan
Schmidt Benedikt R.
Schönrogge K.
Smith Jonathan
Solarz Wojciech
Stewart Alan JA
Stroo Arjan
Tricarico Elena
Turvey Katharine M. A.
Vannini Andrea
Vilà Montserrat
Woodward Stephen
Wynns Anja Amtoft
Dunn Alison M.
According to the Convention on Biological Diversity, by 2020 invasive alien species (IAS) should be identified and their impacts assessed, so that species can be prioritized for implementation of appropriate control strategies and measures put in place to manage invasion pathways. For one quarter of the IAS listed as the “100 of the world's worst” environmental impacts are linked to diseases of wildlife (undomesticated plants and animals). Moreover, IAS are a significant source of “pathogen pollution” defined as the human-mediated introduction of a pathogen to a new host or region. Despite this, little is known about the biology of alien pathogens and their biodiversity impacts after introduction into new regions. We argue that the threats posed by alien pathogens to endangered species, ecosystems, and ecosystem services should receive greater attention through legislation, policy, and management. We identify 10 key areas for research and action, including those relevant to the processes of introduction and establishment of an alien pathogen and to prediction of the spread and associated impact of an alien pathogen on native biota and ecosystems. The development of interdisciplinary capacity, expertise, and coordination to identify and manage threats was seen as critical to address knowledge gaps.
Year of Publication
Conservation Letters
Number of Pages
Research themes
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