Disease-mediated ecosystem services: Pathogens, plants, and people

Rachel Paseka (Corresponding author), Lauren White, Dedmer Van de Waal, Alex Strauss, Angélica González, Rebecca Everett, Angela Peace, Eric W. Seabloom, Thijs Frenken, Elizabeth T. Borer

Research output: Contribution to journal/periodicalArticleScientificpeer-review

33 Citations (Scopus)
22 Downloads (Pure)


Despite the ubiquity of pathogens in ecological systems, their roles in influencing ecosystem services are often overlooked. Pathogens that infect primary producers (i.e., plants, algae, cyanobacteria) can have particularly strong effects because autotrophs are responsible for a wide range of provisioning, regulating, and cultural services. We review the roles of pathogens in mediating ecosystem services provided by autotrophs and outline scenarios in which infection may lead to unexpected outcomes in response to global change. Our synthesis highlights a deficit of information on this topic, and we outline a vision for future research that includes integrative theory and cross-system empirical studies. Ultimately, knowledge about the mediating roles of pathogens on ecosystem services should inform environmental policy and practice.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)731-743
Number of pages13
JournalTrends in Ecology & Evolution
Issue number8
Early online date2020
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • International
  • Plan_S-Compliant_NO
  • pathogens
  • infectious disease
  • autotroph
  • global change
  • ecosystem services
  • primary producer

Research theme

  • Disease ecology
  • Global environmental change


Dive into the research topics of 'Disease-mediated ecosystem services: Pathogens, plants, and people'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this