Anna Schertler, Bernd Lenzner, Stefan Dullinger, Dietmar Moser, Collaborators and Franz Essl
University Vienna, Department of Botany and Biodiversity Research,
Rennweg 14, 1030 Vienna, Austria
As a consequence of globalization, the human-mediated introduction of species beyond their native ranges has undergone remarkable acceleration (Seebens et al. 2017). Hence, efforts to quantify biological invasions worldwide (e.g. Pyšek et al. 2017) and analyze patterns and identify underlying drivers (e.g. Seebens et al. 2017, Moser et al. 2018) have been undertaken. These studies have taken advantage of newly compiled global databases on alien species, e.g. vascular plants (van Kleunen et al. 2019), mammals, reptiles, amphibians, ants and birds (Dawson et al. 2017).
Unfortunately, invasion biology exhibits a strong bias towards vascular plants and vertebrates, often neglecting other major taxonomic groups, such as fungi (Desprez-Loustau et al. 2007, Gladieux et al. 2015), of which many are crucial for nutrient cycling and ecosystem functioning, while others engage in mutualistic relationships or act as pathogens (Willis 2018). The underrepresentation of fungi in invasion biology is partly attributable to the “Linnean”, “Darwinian” and “Wallacean” shortfalls, i.e. a lack of knowledge on fungal taxonomy, distribution and ecology (Desprez-Loustau et al. 2007). However, advancing methods in molecular ecology have recently allowed for noteworthy progress on species delimitation and identification of native and alien ranges (Gladieux et al. 2015). Thus, the compilation of a global database on alien fungal pathogens has become feasible. Given the large impacts pathogenic fungi cause on the environment and human livelihoods (Desprez-Loustau et al. 2007, Willis 2018), this has become an important knowledge gap to address.
Here, we introduce the “Global Database of Alien Pathogenic Fungi”, a comprehensive database on the worldwide distribution of introduced and emerging fungal pathogens, with particular emphasis on micromycetes. This database contains information on alien and native distribution (taken from a wide range of sources), complemented by data on phylogeny, traits and life-history characteristics relevant for invasion, such as host specificity and heteroecy (Philibert et al. 2011), years of first records, associated hosts and observed impacts. We will present applications of this database for answering macroecological and biogeographical questions, and highlight the role of plant-fungal relationships in invasion biology, which is of importance for understanding and managing plant invasions.
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