Trends in biological control: public interest, international networking and research direction

Jacques Brodeur, Paul K. Abram, George E. Heimpel, Russell H. Messing

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

49 Scopus citations


We investigated trends in biological control to both capture its evolution and explore future opportunities. We examined recent changes in public interest, international networking and peer-reviewed research. A Google Trends analysis revealed that the popularity of biological control is decreasing in terms of search hits on the internet. This trend is potentially worrying for the biological control community, given that public interest tends to drive political decisions regarding regulatory processes and governmental funding of research. To examine patterns of international collaboration, we established the list of authors who published their work in the three main biological control journals from the early 1990s to 2016. International co-authorship has intensified and the biological control sector is increasingly characterized by multilateral collaboration. We surveyed papers published in BioControl and Biological Control over the last 25 years to identify research trends with respect to target pests, commodities, biological control agents and biological control approaches. Finally, we report that articles on biological control are published in the broad-based scientific journals Science and Nature on a regular basis. This reflects contributions that biological control research makes to scientific discussions in general. Our analyses revealed a thriving scientific discipline with several major research trends in arthropod, plant pathogen and weed biological control.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)11-26
Number of pages16
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017, International Organization for Biological Control (IOBC).


  • Augmentative biological control
  • Biological control approaches
  • Classical biological control
  • Conservation biological control
  • Google trends
  • Integrated pest management
  • International co-authorship
  • Public awareness


Dive into the research topics of 'Trends in biological control: public interest, international networking and research direction'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this