Introduction: The introduction and successful establishment of non-native insects pose a significant threat to the function and structure of native ecosystems and biodiversity. Forest ecosystems are especially challenged due to the worldwide importance of wood packaging material universally used in global trade, the importation of lumber and wood products, and the importation of live trees for planting, which collectively enables a number of invasion pathways that facilitate the introduction of forest insects. However, most introduced species are relatively benign when introduced into a novel environment, and only a minority are thought to cause widespread ecological and economic damage. Due to this variation in invasion success, the development of a broadly applicable framework useful to predict the invasiveness of a species has so far remained elusive.
Methods: We used the existing literature and compiled a database of over 3,000 established non-native insects in North America, and tested the relative contribution of (1) insect and plant evolutionary history, (2) the presence and effectiveness of host plant defenses (e.g., defense-free space hypothesis), (3) invader biological traits, (4) the presence of natural enemies (e.g., enemy release hypothesis), and (5) geographic and temporal matching on species invasiveness.
Results/Conclusion: The identification of important traits and factors that constrain or allow introduced species to exert ecological and economic damage in a novel environment has important management applications relevant to all stages of the biological invasion process.
|note||Tobin, P.C., Marsico, T.D., Thomas, K.A., Herms, D.A., and Mech, A.M. “Looking for black and white in the grey: Variation in invasion success and management challenges in a global community.” International Congress of Entomology (ICE), September 2016, Orlando, Florida. Conference talk.|