Invasion Biology: Paradigms Glossed



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Invasion biology is concerned with the study of invasive species. Officially, species are said to be invasive if they lead to undesirable effects (i.e. harm to human health, the economy or the environment) in areas outside their native geographic ranges. However, not all researchers quantify negative impacts or use the term “invasive” in the same way, and invasive criteria, including associated harm or threat, is often unclear. Davis et al. (2011) co-authored an essay in Nature urging conservationists and land managers to focus less on species origin and more on the impacts species cause, citing case studies to show the “biological bias” many hold against non- native species. The essay elicited responses in defense of invasion biology, sparking conversation about the way ecologists approach non-native species. However, closer examination reveals that Davis et al.’s true sentiments may have been masked. This debate among researchers may have also been artificially inflated, influenced in part by polemical language, word choice, and heavy- handed editors in the publication process. Increased communication and collaboration on behalf of scientists, scientific journals, and policy makers is necessary in order to clarify discussions surrounding invasion biology.



ecology, invasion, invasive species, biology