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 April 18, 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 April 18, 2014).

Share This



More Earth & Climate News

Friday, April 18, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

The Great British Farmland Boom

The Great British Farmland Boom

Reuters - Business Video Online (Apr. 17, 2014) Britain's troubled Co-operative Group is preparing to cash in on nearly 18,000 acres of farmland in one of the biggest UK land sales in decades. As Ivor Bennett reports, the market timing couldn't be better, with farmland prices soaring over 270 percent in the last 10 years. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Small Reactors Could Be Future of Nuclear Energy

Small Reactors Could Be Future of Nuclear Energy

AP (Apr. 17, 2014) After the Fukushima nuclear disaster, the industry fell under intense scrutiny. Now, small underground nuclear power plants are being considered as the possible future of the nuclear energy. (April 17) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Change of Diet Helps Crocodile Business

Change of Diet Helps Crocodile Business

Reuters - Business Video Online (Apr. 16, 2014) Crocodile farming has been a challenge in Zimbabwe in recent years do the economic collapse and the financial crisis. But as Ciara Sutton reports one of Europe's biggest suppliers of skins to the luxury market has come up with an unusual survival strategy - vegetarian food. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
How Mt. Everest Helped Scientists Research Diabetes

How Mt. Everest Helped Scientists Research Diabetes

Newsy (Apr. 15, 2014) British researchers were able to use Mount Everest's low altitudes to study insulin resistance. They hope to find ways to treat diabetes. 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:
from the past week

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