News & Events

Crypticity in Biological Invasions


Ecological effects of alien species can be dramatic, but management and prevention of negative impacts are often hindered by crypticity of the species or their ecological functions.

Ecological functions can change dramatically over time, or manifest after long periods of an innocuous presence. Such cryptic processes may lead to an underestimation of long-term impacts and constrain management effectiveness. An international team of scientists, among them Franz Essl, from the Department of Botany and Biodiversity Research, present a conceptual framework of crypticity in biological invasions. [read more]


Jaric I, Heger T, Monzon FC, Jeschke JM, Kowarik I, McConkey KR, Pysek P, Sagouis A, & Essl F. (2019) Crypticity in Biological Invasions. Trends in Ecology and Invasions. DOI: 10.1016/j.tree.2018.12.008

Two very similar tree frog species that are indistinguishable from each other without genetic testing. Both act as transmitters of the chytrid fungus endangering amphibian species worldwide. Which of these two species has actually transmitted the pathogen remains unknown in many cases. (© James Harding)