Evolutionary processes make invasion speed difficult to predict

Phillips, Ben L. (2015) Evolutionary processes make invasion speed difficult to predict. Biological Invasions, 17 (7). pp. 1949-1960.

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A capacity to predict the spread rate of populations is critical for understanding the impacts of climate change and invasive species. Despite sophisticated theory describing how populations spread, the prediction of spread rate remains a formidable challenge. As well as the inherent stochasticity in the spread process, spreading populations are subject to strong evolutionary forces (operating on dispersal and reproductive rates) that can cause accelerating spread. Despite these strong evolutionary forces, serial founder events and drift on the expanding range edge mean that evolutionary trajectories in the invasion vanguard may be highly stochastic. Here I develop a model of spatial spread in continuous space that incorporates evolution of continuous traits under a quantitative genetic model of inheritance. I use this model to investigate the potential role of evolution on the variation in spread rate between replicate model realisations. Models incorporating evolution exhibited more than four times the variance in spread rate across replicate invasions compared with non-evolving scenarios. Results suggest that the majority of this increase in variation is driven by evolutionary stochasticity on the invasion front rather than initial founder events: in many cases evolutionary stochasticity on the invasion front contributed more than 90 % of the variance in spread rate over 30 generations. Our uncertainty around predicted spread rates-whether for invasive species or those shifting under climate change-may be much larger than we expect when the spreading population contains heritable variation in rates of dispersal and reproduction.

Item ID: 42049
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1573-1464
Keywords: expansion load, genetic drift, invasive species, mutation surfing, spatial sorting, uncertainty, climate change
Funders: Australian Research Council (ARC)
Projects and Grants: ARC DP1094646
Date Deposited: 08 Dec 2015 16:51
FoR Codes: 06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0603 Evolutionary Biology > 060308 Life Histories @ 100%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9604 Control of Pests, Diseases and Exotic Species > 960405 Control of Pests, Diseases and Exotic Species at Regional or Larger Scales @ 100%
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