Microbial invasions in terrestrial ecosystems

Madhav P. Thakur*, Wim H. van der Putten, Marleen M.P. Cobben, Mark van Kleunen, Stefan Geisen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

51 Citations (Scopus)


Human travel and global trade have tremendously increased the spread of invasive microorganisms in new regions. Experimental and observational studies in terrestrial ecosystems are beginning to shed light on processes of microbial invasions, their ecological impacts and implications for ecosystem functioning. We provide examples of terrestrial invasive microorganisms, including bacteria, fungi, oomycetes and other protists, and viruses, and discuss the impacts of pathogenic and non-pathogenic invasive microorganisms at levels ranging from host species to ecosystems. This Review highlights that despite the recent progress in microbial invasion research, we are only beginning to understand how alien microorganisms interact with native microorganisms, and the implications of those interactions. Finally, we propose three research themes — microbial interactions, impacts and climate change — to make microbial invasion research a truly integrative discipline.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)621-631
JournalNature Reviews Microbiology
Publication statusPublished - 26 Jul 2019


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