Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

From nucleotides to satellite imagery: approaches to identify and manage the invasive pathogen Xylella fastidiosa and its insect vectors in Europe.

Abstract

Biological invasions represent some of the most severe threats to local communities and ecosystems. Among invasive species, the vector-borne pathogen Xylella fastidiosa is responsible for a wide variety of plant diseases and has profound environmental, social and economic impacts. Once restricted to the Americas, it has recently invaded Europe, where multiple dramatic outbreaks have highlighted critical challenges for its management. Here, we review the most recent advances on the identification, distribution and management of X. fastidiosa and its insect vectors in Europe through genetic and spatial ecology methodologies. We underline the most important theoretical and technological gaps that remain to be bridged. Challenges and future research directions are discussed in the light of improving our understanding of this invasive species, its vectors and host-pathogen interactions. We highlight the need of including different, complimentary outlooks in integrated frameworks to substantially improve our knowledge on invasive processes and optimize resources allocation. We provide an overview of genetic, spatial ecology and integrated approaches that will aid successful and sustainable management of one of the most dangerous threats to European agriculture and ecosystems.