What are the similarities between disease emergence and biological invasion

Looking at the world through the eyes of those from different fields to your own is often refreshing so this paper in the most recent edition of Functional Ecology in being included as a festive treat.


An Eastern Grey Squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis...

An Eastern Grey Squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis) in St James’s Park, London, England. Français : Ecureuil gris (Sciurus carolinensis) dans la parc Saint James, à Londres. Português: Um esquilo pertencente à espécie Sciurus carolinensis, no St James’s Park em Londres, Inglaterra. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


It discusses the parallels between the way we think about emerging infectious diseases (e.g. Swine flu, Nipah Virus) and the way we think about invasive species (e.g. Grey Squirrels in the UK and Italy, American Bullfrogs in Australia) hopefully you’ll find it an interesting read. It certainly gives food for thought on how we should consider the effects that changes in the environment may have on emerging disease patterns.


Indeed if you do find it interesting and want a recommendation on an excellent book for some similar festive reading try ‘The art of being a parasite’ by Claude Combes (available quite a bit cheaper elsewhere if you don’t believe in paying tax). It’s quite a journey considering not just what parasites and hosts are, but also what is a species and even what constitutes an individual organism. What is more like an independent organism one of your own cells living in a petri dish or a bee which can’t survive without royal jelly?


Merry Christmas to all!


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