Pandemics and biological invasions have much in common. They are often linked by the same global change drivers, and are showing similar features. However, there is a lack of research exploring these links. The InvasiBES and AlienScenarios projects (both funded under the 2017-2018 BiodivERsA – Belmont Forum call) recently published new analyses of the parallels between the two phenomena in BioScience. Particularly, this article showcases similarities in drivers, i.e. human activity and ecosystem disturbances, that can foster both biological invasions and the emergence of novel infectious diseases. A more integrated approach considering human health and animal, plant and environmental health could improve prediction, prevention, treatment and mitigation of both biological invasions and infectious disease outbreaks.
This publication echoes the 2018-2019 BiodivERsA Joint Call that aims at deepening our understanding of the links between health, biodiversity loss and the degradation of ecosystems. 10 projects addressing issues at the nexus between biodiversity and health were selected for funding under this call, and are currently contributing to building bridges across disciplines from ecology, genetics or evolutionary sciences to epidemiology and health sciences.
For more information:
- Vilá et al., “Viewing Emerging Human Infectious Epidemics through the Lens of Invasion Biology“, BioScience, 19 May 2021.
- Summary of the InvasiBES project
- Summary of the AlienScenarios project
- Presentation of the BiodivScen call on “Scenarios of biodiversity and ecosystem services” and its 21 funded projects
- Presentation of the BiodivERsA call on “Biodiversity and its influence on animal, human and plant health” and its 10 funded projects