Have Invasives, Will Travel


Pack your bags, invasive species. We're going on the road in 2010...unfortunately. That's according to an article in Science Daily, predicting that June 2010 will be a banner month for invasive plants, animals and insects to globe hop aboard planes.

The prediction is part of a study performed by Andrew J. Tatem for the journal Ecography. By looking at global climate models for 2009 and 2010 and comparing them to models predicting airline traffic volume, Tatem was able to pinpoint June 2010 as the perfect month for invasive species to hop aboard flights -- and invade cozily at their destination. Basically there will be high airline traffic between geographically distant places that have a similar climate that time of year.

So what should we do about it? According to the Convention on Biological Diversity, it's important that the public knows how destructive invasive species can be. Since the 17th century -- right around the time ships started to regularly sail the globe -- invasives have led to nearly 40 percent of animal extinctions (for which the cause is known). The publicity that can be stirred up around a doomsday figure like Tatem's prediction might just make a passenger a little more likely to toss out that pathogen-coated fruit before boarding.

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