Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Invasive Species: "Away-Field Advantage" Weaker Than Ecologists Thought

22.05.2013
For decades, ecologists have assumed the worst invasive species—such as brown tree snakes and kudzu—have an “away-field advantage.” They succeed because they do better in their new territories than they do at home. A new study led by the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center reveals that this fundamental assumption is not nearly as common as people might think.

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
Further information:
http://www.si.edu

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Researchers simplify tiny structures' construction drip by drip
12.11.2018 | Princeton University, Engineering School

nachricht Mandibular movement monitoring may help improve oral sleep apnea devices
06.11.2018 | Elsevier

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: A Leap Into Quantum Technology

Faster and secure data communication: This is the goal of a new joint project involving physicists from the University of Würzburg. The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research funds the project with 14.8 million euro.

In our digital world data security and secure communication are becoming more and more important. Quantum communication is a promising approach to achieve...

Im Focus: Research icebreaker Polarstern begins the Antarctic season

What does it look like below the ice shelf of the calved massive iceberg A68?

On Saturday, 10 November 2018, the research icebreaker Polarstern will leave its homeport of Bremerhaven, bound for Cape Town, South Africa.

Im Focus: Penn engineers develop ultrathin, ultralight 'nanocardboard'

When choosing materials to make something, trade-offs need to be made between a host of properties, such as thickness, stiffness and weight. Depending on the application in question, finding just the right balance is the difference between success and failure

Now, a team of Penn Engineers has demonstrated a new material they call "nanocardboard," an ultrathin equivalent of corrugated paper cardboard. A square...

Im Focus: Coping with errors in the quantum age

Physicists at ETH Zurich demonstrate how errors that occur during the manipulation of quantum system can be monitored and corrected on the fly

The field of quantum computation has seen tremendous progress in recent years. Bit by bit, quantum devices start to challenge conventional computers, at least...

Im Focus: Nanorobots propel through the eye

Scientists developed specially coated nanometer-sized vehicles that can be actively moved through dense tissue like the vitreous of the eye. So far, the transport of nano-vehicles has only been demonstrated in model systems or biological fluids, but not in real tissue. The work was published in the journal Science Advances and constitutes one step further towards nanorobots becoming minimally-invasive tools for precisely delivering medicine to where it is needed.

Researchers of the “Micro, Nano and Molecular Systems” Lab at the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems in Stuttgart, together with an international...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

“3rd Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP 2018” Attracts International Experts and Users

09.11.2018 | Event News

On the brain’s ability to find the right direction

06.11.2018 | Event News

European Space Talks: Weltraumschrott – eine Gefahr für die Gesellschaft?

23.10.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

In focus: Peptides, the “little brothers and sisters” of proteins

12.11.2018 | Life Sciences

Materials scientist creates fabric alternative to batteries for wearable devices

12.11.2018 | Materials Sciences

A two-atom quantum duet

12.11.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>