Roles of parasites in animal invasions

Trends Ecol Evol. 2004 Jul;19(7):385-90. doi: 10.1016/j.tree.2004.05.002.


Biological invasions are global threats to biodiversity and parasites might play a role in determining invasion outcomes. Transmission of parasites from invading to native species can occur, aiding the invasion process, whilst the 'release' of invaders from parasites can also facilitate invasions. Parasites might also have indirect effects on the outcomes of invasions by mediating a range of competitive and predatory interactions among native and invading species. Although pathogen outbreaks can cause catastrophic species loss with knock-on effects for community structure, it is less clear what impact persistent, sub-lethal parasitism has on native-invader interactions and community structure. Here, we show that the influence of parasitism on the outcomes of animal invasions is more subtle and wide ranging than has been previously realized.