Jan 11, 2015

Evolutionary processes make invasion speed difficult to predict

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
Ben L Phillips

Abstract

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 nonevolving scenarios. Results suggest that the majority of this increase in variation is driven by evolutionary stochasticity on the invasion front rather than i...Continue Reading

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Mentioned in this Paper

Spatial Distribution
Reproduction
Anatomical Space Structure
Genetic Inheritance
Species
Population Group
Biological Evolution
EAF2 gene

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