Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Bugs In Boxes Show Difficulty Of Predicting Invaders' Progress

Date:
September 18, 2009
Source:
University of California - Davis
Summary:
It won't be as easy as some had hoped to catalog all the factors that influence the spread of an invading species, a new study suggests. If it is difficult to predict the course of an invasion, it will be difficult to control it. And there are hundreds of destructive invaders in the US alone, from kudzu to zebra mussels to the light brown apple moth.

Kudzu covering a field and trees in North Carolina, U.S. There are hundreds of destructive invaders in the U.S. alone, from kudzu to zebra mussels to the light brown apple moth.
Credit: iStockphoto/Tim Markley

Bugs in boxes are helping UC Davis researcher Alan Hastings improve scientific tools used to predict the spread of invasive plants and animals.

In the journal Science, Hastings and a University of Colorado colleague report their latest findings from both a tightly controlled laboratory experiment and a mathematical model: When they released 600 identical beetles and let them spread at will through 30 identical landscapes over 13 generations, there was a surprisingdegree of difference in the outcome.

Some of the beetles went far and fast, traveling across 31 landscape patches in the 15-month experiment, while others went only a third as far. The rest fell somewhere in the middle.

Hastings said the results suggest that it won't be as easy as some had hoped to catalog all the factors that influence the spread of an invasion.

If it is difficult to predict the course of an invasion, it will be difficult to control it. And there are hundreds of destructive invaders in the U.S. alone, from kudzu to zebra mussels to the light brown apple moth.

"There appears to be this intrinsic variability, even in the simplest ecological settings, that means that difficulty in prediction is a basic feature of ecological systems," said Hastings, a professor in the UC Davis Department of Environmental Science and Policy.

Hastings is currently a principal investigator or co-investigator on four grants totaling more than $1 million. These studies range from researching the dynamics of salmon and cod populations to species' response to global climate change.

Hastings' collaborator and co-author Brett Melbourne was previously a postdoctoral scholar at UC Davis, and is now an assistant professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Colorado, Boulder.

If invasion forecasts are to improve, Melbourne said, ecologists will have to keep trying to quantify the randomness in environmental and biological processes. "Ecological forecasts will become more like weather forecasts, with a stated range of probability but not certainty, like when the meteorologist says there is a 75 percent chance of rain on Thursday."

It was funded by the National Science Foundation.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of California - Davis. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Brett A. Melbourne and Alan Hastings. Highly Variable Spread Rates in Replicated Biological Invasions: Fundamental Limits to Predictability. Science, 18 September 2009: Vol. 325. no. 5947, pp. 1536 - 1539 DOI: 10.1126/science.1176138

Cite This Page:

University of California - Davis. "Bugs In Boxes Show Difficulty Of Predicting Invaders' Progress." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 18 September 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/09/090918153121.htm>.
University of California - Davis. (2009, September 18). Bugs In Boxes Show Difficulty Of Predicting Invaders' Progress. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/09/090918153121.htm
University of California - Davis. "Bugs In Boxes Show Difficulty Of Predicting Invaders' Progress." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/09/090918153121.htm (accessed September 23, 2014).

Share This



More Earth & Climate News

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Hundreds of Thousands Hit NYC Streets to Protest Climate Change

Hundreds of Thousands Hit NYC Streets to Protest Climate Change

AFP (Sep. 22, 2014) Celebrities, political leaders and the masses rallied in New York and across the globe demanding urgent action on climate change, with organizers saying 600,000 people hit the streets. Duration: 01:19 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
French FM Urges 'powerful' Response to Global Warming

French FM Urges 'powerful' Response to Global Warming

AFP (Sep. 22, 2014) French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius on Monday warned about the potential "catastrophe" if global warming was not dealt with in a "powerful" way. Duration: 01:08 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ongoing Drought, Fighting Put Somalia at Risk of Famine

Ongoing Drought, Fighting Put Somalia at Risk of Famine

AFP (Sep. 22, 2014) After a year of poor rains and heavy fighting Somalia is again at risk of famine, just three years after food shortages killed 260,000 people. Duration: 01:10 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Rockefeller Oil Heirs Switching To Clean Energy

Rockefeller Oil Heirs Switching To Clean Energy

Newsy (Sep. 22, 2014) The Rockefellers — heirs to an oil fortune that made the family name a symbol of American wealth — are switching from fossil fuels to clean energy. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins