If you’ve noticed a sharp increase in purple flowers growing along the roadsides in the Rochester area – 390 being a particularly good example – that would be what is known as an “invasive species.” Purple Loosestrife is a wetlands plant that has been in the country for over a hundred years, but is only just now making its way to Rochester. Its done so because increased trade between New England states and Rochester has brought spores with it. As the plant displaces cattails in wetland areas, the other forms of life such as butterflies that depended on the cattails also get displaced. There are many more recent examples of this. Zebra Mussels, of course.
But another even scarier repercussion of our globally-connected world is that viruses and funguses are as easily transported and as readily-adaptable as these other forms of life. And that is setting up conditions for world-wide pandemics the likes of which we have never seen before. Scientific American goes into detail on the subject reviewing a new book The Viral Storm: The Dawn of a New Pandemic Age. The difference, they say, is that while there are some globe-trotting species of life, most animals including birds never really leave their homes. And those that do travel far still travel only between two locations. But human interconnectivity and trade is changing all that at an ever-increasing rate:
via How an Interconnected Planet Is Fueling the Brewing Viral Storm: Scientific American.