During the establishment phase of a biological invasion, population dynamics are strongly influenced by Allee effects and stochastic dynamics, both of which may lead to extinction of low-density populations. Allee effects refer to a decline in population growth rate with a decline in abundance and can arise from various mechanisms. Strategies to eradicate newly established populations should focus on either enhancing Allee effects or suppressing populations below Allee thresholds, such that extinction proceeds without further intervention. The spread phase of invasions results from the coupling of population growth with dispersal. Reaction-diffusion is the simplest form of spread, resulting in continuous expansion and asymptotically constant radial rates of spread. However, spread of most nonindigenous insects is characterized by occasional long-distance dispersal, which results in the formation of isolated colonies that grow, coalesce, and greatly increase spread. Allee effects also affect spread, generally in a negative fashion. Efforts to slow, stop, or reverse spread should incorporate the spread dynamics unique to the target species.
Biological invasions pose considerable threats to the world's ecosystems and cause substantial economic losses. A prime example is the invasion of the gypsy moth in the United States, for which more than $194 million was spent on management and monitoring between 1985 and 2004 alone. The spread of the gypsy moth across eastern North America is, perhaps, the most thoroughly studied biological invasion in the world, providing a unique opportunity to explore spatiotemporal variability in rates of spread. Here we describe evidence for periodic pulsed invasions, defined as regularly punctuated range expansions interspersed among periods of range stasis. We use a theoretical model with parameter values estimated from long-term monitoring data to show how an interaction between strong Allee effects (negative population growth at low densities) and stratified diffusion (most individuals disperse locally, but a few seed new colonies by long-range movement) can explain the invasion pulses. Our results indicate that suppressing population peaks along range borders might greatly slow invasion.
Allee effects can play a critical role in slowing or preventing the establishment of low density founder populations of non-indigenous species. Similarly, the spread of established invaders into new habitats can be influenced by the degree to which small founder populations ahead of the invasion front are suppressed through Allee effects. We develop an approach to use empirical data on the gypsy moth, a non-indigenous invader in North America, to quantify the Allee threshold across geographical regions, and we report that the strength of the Allee effect is subject to spatial and temporal variability. Moreover, we present what is to our knowledge the first empirical evidence that geographical regions with higher Allee thresholds are associated with slower speeds of invasion.
Biological invasions are a global and increasing threat to the function and diversity of ecosystems. Allee effects (positive density dependence) have been shown to play an important role in the establishment and spread of non-native species. Although Allee effects can be considered a bane in conservation efforts, they can be a benefit in attempts to manage non-native species. Many biological invaders are subject to some form of an Allee effect, whether due to a need to locate mates, cooperatively feed or reproduce or avoid becoming a meal, yet attempts to highlight the specific exploitation of Allee effects in biological invasions are surprisingly unprecedented. In this review, we highlight current strategies that effectively exploit an Allee effect, and propose novel means by which Allee effects can be manipulated to the detriment of biological invaders. We also illustrate how the concept of Allee effects can be integral in risk assessments and in the prioritization of resources allocated to manage non-native species, as some species beset by strong Allee effects could be less successful as invaders. We describe how tactics that strengthen an existing Allee effect or create new ones could be used to manage biological invasions more effectively.
Climate change can cause major changes to the dynamics of individual species and to those communities in which they interact. One effect of increasing temperatures is on insect voltinism, with the logical assumption that increases in surface temperatures would permit multivoltine species to increase the number of generations per year. Though insect development is primarily driven by temperature, most multivoltine insect species rely on photoperiodic cues, which do not change from year-to-year or in response to climate warming, to initiate diapause. Thus, the relationship between climate change and voltinism could be complex. We use a phenology model for grape berry moth, Paralobesia viteana (Clemens), which incorporates temperature-dependent development and diapause termination, and photoperiod-dependent diapause induction, to explore historical patterns in year-to-year voltinism fluctuations. We then extend this model to predict voltinism under varying scenarios of climate change to show the importance of both the quality and quantity of accumulated heat units. We also illustrate that increases in mean surface temperatures 42 1C can have dramatic effects on insect voltinism by causing a shift in the ovipositional period that currently is subject to diapause-inducing photoperiods.
Eradication is the deliberate elimination of a species from an area. Given that international quarantine measures can never be 100% effective, surveillance for newly arrived populations of nonnative species coupled with their eradication represents an important strategy for excluding potentially damaging insect species. Historically, eradication efforts have not always been successful and have sometimes been met with public opposition. But new developments in our understanding of the dynamics of low-density populations, the availability of highly effective treatment tactics, and bioeconomic analyses of eradication strategies offer new opportunities for developing more effective surveillance and eradication programs. A key component that connects these new developments is the harnessing of Allee effects, which naturally promote localized species extinction. Here we review these developments and suggest how research might enhance eradication strategies.
Summary 1.Understanding why invading populations sometimes fail to establish is of considerable relevance to the development of strategies for managing biological invasions. 2. Newly arriving populations tend to be sparse and are often influenced by Allee effects. Mating failure is a typical cause of Allee effects in low-density insect populations, and dispersion of individuals in space and time can exacerbate mate-location failure in invading populations. 3. Here we evaluate the relative importance of dispersal and sexual asynchrony as contributors to Allee effects in invading populations by adopting as a case study the gypsy moth ( Lymantria dispar L.), an important insect defoliator for which considerable demographic information is available. 4. We used release-recapture experiments to parameterize a model that describes probabilities that males locate females along various spatial and temporal offsets between male and female adult emergence. 5. Based on these experimental results, we developed a generalized model of mating success that demonstrates the existence of an Allee threshold, below which introduced gypsy moth populations are likely to go extinct without any management intervention.
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