It is the favorite past time of every invasion biologist since H. G. Baker in the 1960s to make lists of traits which distinguish invaders. We’ve been doing it for at least 50 years, and yet, no list ever seems to satisfy. There are always exceptions – a majority of cases seem to be exceptions, really. And maybe that’s because we need to think about it in more dimensions.
Common question: Why should we worry about species moving around, anyway, haven’t they always done that? A forest is a just a forest and a grassland is just a grassland after all. What are you getting so worked up about? Aren’t humans the worst invasives?
Answer: Yeah, humans are the worst invasives, but I can’t really justify mass extirpations for humans. Not yet, anyway. Though limiting birth rates probably isn’t a terrible idea.
Oops! I’ve been so busy preparing for my talk at the Ecological Society of America’s annual conference that I missed my post deadline. Sorry about that. However, it’s a pretty exciting opportunity. I’ll be part of an organized session that involves some really great speakers called “Contemporary Evolution Amid the Human Enterprise: New Insights Into the Fates of Populations and Communities.” If that doesn’t describe the the evolution of invasiveness, I’m not sure what does.
Here’s my abstract. If you are at ESA, come see my talk and we can nerd out over invasives!
What happens when you introduce invasive burrow dwelling rodents to an island populated by burrow nesting birds?
Look for my guest post next Tuesday at Nothing in Biology Makes Sense. It’s going to be…. something really compelling about the evolution of invasiveness!