The progress of interdisciplinarity in invasion science

Ambio. 2017 May;46(4):428-442. doi: 10.1007/s13280-017-0897-7. Epub 2017 Feb 1.


Interdisciplinarity is needed to gain knowledge of the ecology of invasive species and invaded ecosystems, and of the human dimensions of biological invasions. We combine a quantitative literature review with a qualitative historical narrative to document the progress of interdisciplinarity in invasion science since 1950. Our review shows that 92.4% of interdisciplinary publications (out of 9192) focus on ecological questions, 4.4% on social ones, and 3.2% on social-ecological ones. The emergence of invasion science out of ecology might explain why interdisciplinarity has remained mostly within the natural sciences. Nevertheless, invasion science is attracting social-ecological collaborations to understand ecological challenges, and to develop novel approaches to address new ideas, concepts, and invasion-related questions between scholars and stakeholders. We discuss ways to reframe invasion science as a field centred on interlinked social-ecological dynamics to bring science, governance and society together in a common effort to deal with invasions.

Keywords: Biological invasions; Interdisciplinarity; Non-native species; Scientometrics; Social–ecological research.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Ecology*
  • Interdisciplinary Communication*
  • Introduced Species*