Tuesday, 14 December 2010

November review for F1000

This month we decided to review a novel application of network theory to the horticultural industry.  This paper is on work that is still very much evolving, however it shows great potential for further studies of plant trade networks. 

Disease spread in small-size directed trade networks: the role of hierarchical categories  M. Pautasso, X. Xu, M.J. Jeger, T.D. Harwood, M. Moslonka-Lefebvre and L. Pellis Journal of Applied Ecology. 2010 Dec; 47(6):1300-1309
DOI:  10.1111/j.1365-2664.2010.01884.x

Our Review:
Lonsdale M: 2010. F1000.com/6722956

This article is a novel theoretical application of network theory to the horticultural industry, which might ultimately contribute to a better understanding of the way in which plant diseases may spread.

This article demonstrates that structural change in the trade in plants may have an influence on the chances that a disease epidemic will occur. For example, increasing the number of producers and retailers relative to the number of wholesalers will tend to increase epidemic spread in some kinds of networks. In other kinds of networks (called 'scale-free'), which are characterised by super-connected individuals, the relative number of producers and retailers to wholesalers is not a key driver of epidemic spread.

Monday, 6 December 2010

More evidence of earlier flowering times under climate change

A UK-based paper has recently put together a 'meta-analysis' of data from the past 200 years to show that British Flowering plants have been flowering 2-12 days earlier over the last 25 years than at any time in the past two centuries, on average.  Although this doesn't contrast natives and invasives (it would be interesting to know if that would be possible with this data), it complements the first paper we reviewed for F1000 on the Thoreau's wood data (Concord, Massachusetts (USA)) that demonstrated evidence of earlier flowering dates for both natives and non-natives, however with non-natives flowering 11 days earlier on average than natives over the last 100 year.  I would be curious to know if a similar study could be conducted with the UK data by Amano et al. to that of Willis et al. to provide further evidence for the interesting findings in that paper (see our review here). 

T. Amano, R.J. Smithers, T.H. Sparks and W.J. Sutherland (2010) A 250-year index of first flowering dates and its response to temperature changes Proc. R. Soc. B vol. 277 no. 1693, 2451-2457 

A review of the Amano et al paper for F1000 by Sandra Knapp can be read here, she rated this paper 'exceptional': Faculty of 1000: 2010. F1000.com/6560956

Monday, 22 November 2010

What Makes an Alien Invasive?

This is the title of the forthcoming conference of the Association of Applied Biologists in the UK, to be held in Edinburgh.  The conference is to take place in early December (soon!) but it looks like it is still possible to register.  More details on the conference website here.

The conference looks very interesting - it is focused in Europe however it asks questions of global relevance.  The key question the conference asks, "what criteria make alien species become an invasive species?" can be asked at all stages of an 'invasion' - pre-border, at border and post-border.  It is foremost when thinking about risk assessment, detection and management of alien species as potential invasives.   

Thursday, 18 November 2010

Plant Invasions: theoretical and practical challenges

"Plant Invasions: theoretical and practical challenges" is the title of a recent collection of papers in the journal Biological Invasions. 
This collection of papers span a wide range of topics relating to the study and management of plant invasions.  Richardson et al provide a summary article at the start of the special issue, recognizing 6 broad themes amongst the papers:

• ‘‘big-picture’’ analyses to derive new insights on invasion dynamics for large regions and biomes;
• detailed studies on major invasive species, drawing on insights from con-specific and con-generic invasions in other regions;
• genetic studies to elucidate invasion processes and inform management strategies;
• assessment of the relative role of climate matching in shaping invasion patterns through the analysis of patterns of distribution of invasive species along elevational gradients;
• assessing potential changes in invasion dynamics and impacts under climate change;
• new approaches for integrating advances in the understanding of invasion ecology to improve management

I haven't had a chance to read these yet, however looking through the studies those that examine the role of climatic factors in invasions and also those that look at the effects of climate change stood out to me.  There is also a strong 'practical' leaning in this special issue, with a number of papers tackling 'management' issues.

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

October Review for F1000

Oops I'm a little behind on putting our last review up here - its nearly time for the next one! Last month we reviewed a global 'meta-analysis' of data from across the globe that indicates higher water use by invasive species when compared with co-occurring natives.  Although some bias was evident in the data used to conduct the analysis (well, it was a US-based paper in a US-based journal...) we feel the results are still broad enough to present a persuasive case. 

Comparative water use of native and invasive plants at multiple scales: a global meta-analysis. Cavaleri MA, Sack L Ecology. 2010 Sep; 91(9):2705-15
DOI:  10.1890/09-0582.1

Our Review:
Lonsdale M: 2010. F1000.com/5807964
Copyright F1000

This paper gives some clear indications of the increases in water use that may arise as a consequence of invasive species in a variety of ecosystems across the globe. The paper stands out as it not only analyses differences between co-occurring native and invasive species of the same growth form in a comprehensive fashion, but also suggests mechanisms for these differences and avenues of further research. The study also refutes the theory that invasive species are successful due to more efficient resource use when compared with natives.

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

September Review for F1000

The paper we chose to review this month was a little different in that it demonstrates a method of surveying for pest-resistant specimens involving 'citizen science'.  The article is straightforward, clearly showing that there can be significant benefits to involving volunteers in biosecurity-related surveys where time is of the essence. In Australia, an example of where such an approach has been used is in surveys for fire ants in Queensland - read more about that here.

Using Citizen Science Programs to Identify Host Resistance in Pest-Invaded Forests.  
Ingwell LL, Preisser EL, Conservation Biology, article first published online: 23 AUG 2010 (Early View)
DOI: 10.1111/j.1523-1739.2010.01567.x

Our Review:
Mark Lonsdale: Faculty of 1000 Biology, 12 Oct 2010
Copyright F1000

This paper gives a clear demonstration of the advantages of involving large numbers of volunteers in a survey for trees resistant to a pest. It highlights the possibility that the human population could be an important part of a resilient biosecurity system if sensitised to biosecurity risks.

Thursday, 23 September 2010

MSN feature invasive species

Just noticed as I logged out of my hotmail today that MSN have put a feature up on invasive species!  Worth a look...

Monday, 30 August 2010

August review for F1000

Optimal management strategies to control local population growth or population spread may not be the same. Shea K, Jongejans E, Skarpaas O, Kelly D, Sheppard AW Ecol Appl 2010 Jun 20(4):1148-61

Our Review
Mark Lonsdale: Faculty of 1000 Biology, 16 Aug 2010
Copyright F1000
This paper provides a good example of how a model for population processes can be used to inform management decisions at a regional scale for an invasive plant, Carduus nutans. Mechanistic approaches in both population dynamics and dispersal simulation are combined to good effect in this study. Modellers are increasingly using such methods in spatial ecology to achieve a better understanding of drivers that can lead to important management strategy recommendations, as demonstrated here.

Friday, 30 July 2010

A global perspective on current changes in horticulture

My new office mate found an interesting paper today, about current dynamics in the global horticultural industry that may well have implications for invasives:
Structural change in the international horticultural industry: Some implications for plant health
K. Dehnen-Schmutza, O. Holdenriederb, M. J. Jegerc and M. Pautassoc
Scientia Horticulturae Volume 125, Issue 1, 31 May 2010, Pages 1-15

Thursday, 22 July 2010

Short notice - talk on in half an hour!

Public Seminar – Entomology Lecture Theatre Room, Level 2, Bldg 101 Clunies Ross Street, Black Mountain.

Thursday 22nd July 3.00 pm

Speaker: Dr Jean-Baptiste Pichancourt, CSIRO Entomology (based in Brisbane)

Title: ‘Jack-and-Master’ species: when adaptive phenotypic plasticity maximizes geographic ranges and their transformations.

Abstract: Theories suggest that phenotypic plasticity may play an important role in invasiveness and in shaping species distributions and their transformations at large scales.

Here we confirm expectations on the invasive plant Parkinsonia aculeata, using a long-term, continental-scale field study across various climatic and habitat gradients.

Furthermore, we show that the trait of phenotypic plasticity is itself under natural selection thereby providing further flexibility in range expansions or shifts.

Friday, 9 July 2010

Climate change and weed pests in South Australia

This article and also this article (the latter giving a bit more detail) highlights work done here at CSIRO by Darren Kriticos (my boss!).  He has modelled the effects of climate change on invasive plants in South Australia and identified significant shifts in distribution that may occur .

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

July review for F1000

Facilitation cascade drives positive relationship between native biodiversity and invasion success. Altieri AH, van Wesenbeeck BK, Bertness MD, Silliman BR Ecology 2010 May 91(5):1269-75

Our Review 
Mark Lonsdale: Faculty of 1000 Biology, 5 July 2010 
Copyright F1000  

This article is interesting because it provides plot-scale support for the role of native species in facilitating invasions that helps explain the positive relationship between native species diversity and invasibility typically seen at the landscape scale.

Friday, 28 May 2010

Invasive Earthworms - not such friendly soil munchers?

I saw this link on the Bioinvasion and Ecoservices blog: it is a BBC news article about a very interesting paper just out that shows Earthworms actually eat seeds and seedlings, not just dead matter.  This has major implications for the spread of the humble Earthworm that is making is way (with the help of people, of course) from Europe across other continents.  Although there always going to be benefits of worms, such as nutrient cycling, their presence in new landscapes may potentially cause plant species extinction as the worms begin to eat their seedling which previously had no 'predators'.

N. Eisenhauer, O. Butenschoen, S. Radsick and S. Scheu (in press, May 2010) Earthworms as seedling predators: Importance of seeds and seedlings for earthworm nutrition Soil Biology and Biochemistry 
(image found on the Mad Science website)

Dispersal of Invasives - Ecological Applications

I noticed these papers a little while ago in the April 2010 issue of Ecological Applications, but seeing them again in an email alert made me think I should have put them on my blog and perhaps highlight them for a F1000 review:

The effects of temporally variable dispersal and landscape structure on invasive species spread (2010) M.E. Andrew and S.L. Ustin Ecological Applications Vol. 20, No. 3: 593-608.

Contributions of demography and dispersal parameters to the spatial spread of a stage-structured insect invasion (2010) T.E.X. Miller and B. Tenhumberg Ecological Applications Vol. 20, No. 3: 620-633.

 As they are modelling papers they are particularly interesting to me.  The first provides some very interesting general insights on initial rates of spread gained from remote sensing studies and simulation modelling of the dispersal of invasive species. The second is a good demonstration of the way in which modelling can be used to identify which points in the life cycle should be targets of management.

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

May Review for F1000

Use of Abundance of One Species as a Surrogate for Abundance of Others.
Cushman SA, McKelvey KS, Noon BR, McGarigal K (2010) Conservation Biology Published Online: 7 Jan 2010 (early view) DOI: 10.1111/j.1523-1739.2009.01396.x

We have gone a little bit away from the biosecurity and invasive species theme this month, as we felt this paper was a very important more general paper.  There is a long history of the use of surrogate 'indicator' species in conservation management and scientific research that has never seemed entirely justified.  Others have challenged these ideas before, however, this paper provides a very clear message that caution should be used - proving rather than assuming that the abundance of one species may represent the abundance of another. 

Our Review 
Mark Lonsdale: Faculty of 1000 Biology, 11 May 2010 
Copyright F1000  

Friday, 7 May 2010

Two interesting F1000 reviews (invasives)

I've just received the bulletin of the latest reviews from F1000 and noticed a couple of interesting reviews for papers on invasive species...

Thursday, 29 April 2010

Latest Journal of Applied Ecology - some interesting papers

There is a good section in the Journal of Applied Ecology this month on invasives/biocontrol, with 3 papers that caught my eye.  Not sure yet if we will review them for F1000, I will put forward the first one to Mark Lonsdale, but here is a summary of each:

Tuesday, 13 April 2010

April Review for F1000

An Experimental Test of Darwin’s Naturalization Hypothesis in Jiang, Jiaqi Tan, and Zhichao The American Naturalist, vol. 175, no. 4 (April 2010) pp. 415–423 DOI: 10.1086/650720

We decided to review the above paper as our April review for F1000.  This article is interesting because it is an elegant experimental test of Darwin's ‘Naturalization hypothesis’: a theory about the role of interspecific competition in invasion success.

Our Review 
Mark Lonsdale: Faculty of 1000 Biology, 19 Apr 2010 http://f1000biology.com/article/id/2902956/evaluation
Copyright F1000

Public seminar at CSIRO

Picking winners in biological control: holy grail or poisoned chalice

Public seminar
Dr Raghu Sathyamurthy – Arid Zone Research Institute, Dep. Resources Northern Territory
Venue: CSIRO Entomology
Managing the risks and costs of classical biological control while harnessing its benefits is an ongoing challenge for its utility in invasive species management. Significant economic and ecological gains can potentially be made in this regard, if we can predict the agents that have the highest likelihood of managing their target weed/insect pest (i.e. pick "winners"), and prioritise their importation, risk assessment and release. Developing innovative approaches to picking winners has therefore been the 'holy grail' of the discipline, a pursuit hastened in recent decades by the detection of non-target effects of ineffective biocontrol agents. In this talk I will outline one potentially valuable approach to such a pursuit. Using a case study of my research in weed biological control, I illustrate how a conceptual framework to tackle the mechanistic basis for invasiveness can help in selecting and prioritising agents with a higher likelihood of success. I conclude with some caveats on using such approaches, to avoid accidentally sipping from poisoned chalices in the pursuit of this holy grail

Thursday, 18 March 2010

The threat when invasives hybridize...

Rapid spread of invasive genes into a threatened native species Benjamin M. Fitzpatrick, Jarrett R. Johnson, D. Kevin Kump, Jeramiah J. Smith, S. Randal Voss and H. Bradley Shaffer PNAS Feb 2010
Models (in combination with field study) suggest that the rate of displacement of native by invasive alleles can be rapid and inevitable if they are favored by natural selection. The results illustrate that genetic and ecological factors need to be carefully weighed when considering different criteria for protection, because different rules could result in dramatically different geographic areas and numbers of individuals being protected.

Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Non-native bug to control Japanese Knotweed in the UK

In the news  reports that the UK will shortly go ahead and introduce a host-specific non-native psyllid called Aphalara itadori to try to control the spread of the highly invasive Japanese Knotweed. 

Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Australian evidence of climate change

From a news report on redOrbit:
CSIRO, in a joint "State of the Climate" report with the Bureau of Meteorology, presented findings in a report that the country's mean temperature has increased by 0.7 degrees Celsius in the past 50 years, though some areas have experienced as much as a 1.5 to 2 degree hike in temperatures...

Australian ants may help control cane toads!

Using a native predator (the meat ant, Iridomyrmex reburrus) to reduce the abundance of an invasive species (the cane toad, Bufo marinus) in tropical Australia Georgia Ward-Fear, Gregory P. Brown and Richard Shine Journal of Applied Ecology April 2010, 47, 273–280 doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2664.2010.01773.x

A new study from the University of Sydney that indicates native predatory ants in Queensland can be encouraged to predate on immature cane-toads spatially restricted to the edge of waterbodies.  As the ants are native there is limited 'colateral' damage to the local environment, giving encouraging results that they may act as an effective and ecologically sensitive biocontrol for this costly invasive.  
This was in in the news back in February.

Friday, 12 March 2010

F1000 review - candidates for April

Already Ive come across some likely candidates for our next f1000 review, so I thought Id post the articles I find this month prior to meeting up with Mark Lonsdale to choose our favourite for review...

Thursday, 11 March 2010

Aphid genome reveals its 'Achilles heel'

An interesting article Aphid genome reveals its 'Achilles heel' on a CSIRO-led CRCNPB project on the genome of the pea aphid.  Their results appeared recently in PLoS Biology (The International Aphid Genomics Consortium 2010: Genome Sequence of the Pea Aphid Acyrthosiphon pisum. PLoS Biol 8(2): e1000313. doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.1000313).
If science can stop aphids flying that would certainly limit their ability to spread virus such as BYDV - though it would also make my aphid spatial migration modelling efforts somewhat redundant!

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

First Review for F1000

Well, the review of the Willis paper on non-native vs. native species' response to climate change in Thoreau's wood is written, however, there is a small problem, someone else in F1000 already wrote a review and it was published today! Anyhow, here is both our review and that of Dr Michael Angilletta, Department of Biology, Indiana State University...   

Our Review
Mark Lonsdale: Faculty of 1000 Biology, 11 Mar 2010 http://f1000biology.com/article/id/2231956
Copyright F1000  

Saturday, 6 March 2010

Global Biosecurity 2010

I attended Global Biosecurity 2010 last week in Brisbane, Australia...

Favourable Climate Change response Explains Non-Native Species' Success in Thoreau's Woods

The first paper I will review for F1000 is:
Favorable Climate Change Response Explains Non-Native Species' Success in Thoreau's Woods Charles G. Willis, Brad R. Ruhfel, Richard B. Primack, Abraham J. Miller-Rushing, Jonathan B. Losos, Charles C. Davis Research Article, published 26 Jan 2010 | doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0008878