The away-field advantage hypothesis hinges on this idea: Successful invaders do better in a new place because the environment is more hospitable to them. They escape their natural enemies, use novel weapons on unsuspecting natives and generally outcompete natives on their own turf by disrupting the balance of nature in their new ecosystems.
“They’ve been presumed to be good citizens at home and bad citizens away,” said ecologist John Parker, lead author of the paper published in the May issue of the journal Ecology. But when researchers investigated it on a large scale, they discovered the assumption was not true for all, or even most, of the species they looked at.
The research team, which included 24 invasion biologists from the National Science Foundation-funded Global Invasions Network, compiled data on 53 different plant and animal invaders. They pulled 37 from the list of “100 of the World’s Worst Invasive Alien Species,” and 16 from an exhaustive search of the published literature. They ended up with a list that included European green crabs, Asian kelp, nutria, brown tree snakes, garlic mustard and other common suspects. After combing through hundreds to thousands of papers to find published demographic data, they were able to do a statistical analysis of whether invaders were bigger, more reproductively successful and thus more abundant in their introduced ranges.
On the surface the assumption seemed to hold true. Across all 53 species, there was a 96 percent probability invaders would do better in their adopted ecosystems. But closer inspection revealed some surprising weaknesses within the paradigm. When they looked at individual species, they discovered a handful of extremely successful invaders were driving up the average. In reality, more than half of the species performed roughly the same at home versus abroad, and a few were even likely to perform worse in foreign territory.
This suggests that the key to a successful invasion depends less on the environment and more on the individual species doing the invading. Plants, for example, were more likely than animals to thrive abroad in this study. But even the plants showed a wide range of variability, with many (like garlic mustard) performing equally well in both their introduced and home ranges.
“The general notion that invasive species are doing something fundamentally different in their new versus their old ranges may be a fair starting point overall, but there is a lot of grey area even for the worst-case invaders,” Parker said. “These findings might also have applications for management. Some species might be invasive regardless of novel conditions, whereas others thrive only because of their new environment. If this ‘newfound’ success is reversible, it’s these latter.
Kristen Minogue | Newswise
Europe’s Demographic Future. Where the Regions Are Heading after a Decade of Crises
10.08.2017 | Berlin-Institut für Bevölkerung und Entwicklung
Scientists reveal source of human heartbeat in 3-D
07.08.2017 | University of Manchester
Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.
As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...
Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.
Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...
For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.
While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...
An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.
The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...
A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.
Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...
16.08.2017 | Event News
04.08.2017 | Event News
26.07.2017 | Event News
18.08.2017 | Life Sciences
18.08.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
18.08.2017 | Materials Sciences