The progress of interdisciplinarity in invasion science


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 socialecological 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.

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A.S. Vaz was supported by FSE/MEC, FCT (PD/BD/52600/2014); J. Vicente by POPH/FSE, FCT (SFRH/BPD/84044/2012); J. Muñoz-Pajares by FEDER-FCT (UID/BIA/50027/2013; POCI-01-0145-FEDER-006821), CIBIO (UID/BIA/50027/2013); S. Schindler by ACRP (KR13AC6K11141); D. Richardson by the DST-NRF Centre of Excellence for Invasion Biology, the Working for Water Programme through project on “Integrated Management of invasive alien species in South Africa”, and the National Research Foundation (NRF), South Africa (Grant 85417); C. Hui by the NRF (Grants 81825, 76912) and the Australian Research Council (DP150103017). We thank the National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center (SESYNC; NSF DBI-1052875), the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research, the Synthesis Centre of iDiv (DFG FZT 118), and Thomson Reuters.

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Vaz, A.S., Kueffer, C., Kull, C.A. et al. The progress of interdisciplinarity in invasion science. Ambio 46, 428–442 (2017) doi:10.1007/s13280-017-0897-7

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  • Biological invasions
  • Interdisciplinarity
  • Non-native species
  • Scientometrics
  • Social–ecological research