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Title: Invasion Ecology
Author(s): Julie L Lockwood, Martha F Hoopes and Michael P Marchetti
Date of Publication: 2007 Publisher: Blackwell Publishing
Pages:vii + 304 ISBN: 978 1 4051 1418 9
Price:£ 32.99 Format:Paperback
Overview:
Target Readership Educator
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Literature
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Content: 1 – An introduction to invasion ecology; 2 - Transport vectors and pathways; 3 - Trends in numbers of invaders; 4 - Propagules; 5 - Disturbance; 6 - Establishment success: the influence of biotic interactions; 7 - Modeling the geographic spread of invasive species; 8 - Ecological processes and the spread of non-native species; 9 - Ecological impacts of invasive species; 10 - Impact synthesis; 11 - Evolution of invaders; 12 - Prediction, risk assessment and management of species invasions.

Review: The idea that we could populate the Earth with any species and that this would re-create an 'Eden' somewhere goes back to the Acclimatisation Societies of the 19th century. Today, after much (often painful) association with non-native species we recognise invaders for what they are. Whereas this is often to the detriment of the existing ecosystem it does provide us with a way of studying population movements. Whether biomes are the best place to try out experiments is another question altogether but there is now a small but growing band of ecologists who are specialising in this area and invasion ecology is now a distinct topic in its own right.

Because this is new, there is the initial problem of getting the terminology right and demonstrating the parameters of the subject. This is the aim of the first chapter here. That there are at least 27 different terms to cover essentially the same thing shows how far we need to go to produce a synthesis that we can agree with. To assist further, this chapter outlines the main process of invasion and gives examples to illustrate this. To be an invader you need to travel so it is no surprise to find this as the topic of chapter two. A distinction is made early on between the route (pathway) and mode (vector) of transport. We get several examples to highlight this basic division. Vectors are further investigated and the key ones (notably sea-based) is described with cases ranging from the slave trade to 19th century commerce. Given this increasing ease of movement it is easy to see how, in chapter three, that the trend in invasion is sharply upward. Wherever you look, and examples here span the globe, the same trend is seen (suggesting, as others have put it, to a homogenisation of ecology!). This shouldn't be taken to be a blanket increase - temperate zones seem to have more than their fair share (due presumably to the greater amount of trade). Chapter four turns to the invader itself and shows the parameters needed to be successful. It's not just a question of being tough you also need the reception to be agreeable. As chapter five notes, the best places are those where disturbance has taken place e.g. fire, agriculture and, these days, global warming. Once the non-native has reached a suitable abiotic environment it needs to establish against the resident biota. Although the title of chapter six suggests this is simple, the real picture, as we see, is far from obvious with no strong evidence for any particular model of success. One is left with the impression that multiple causes are needed for success or failure. Once the population becomes established there's a need to see where it spreads. For plants this might be simple but for animals it's far harder and so a key weapon is mathematical modelling. As outlined in chapter seven we do get some idea of rate and direction of spread. Non-native species are just native species elsewhere so it should be possible to study them using standard ecological concepts. This is the work of chapter 8 which describes the population models, dispersal patterns and biotic interactions we can see in non-native organisms. All this invading must have an effect on the resident ecology and chapter 9 highlights some of the key findings such as extinction and predation. Chapter 10 takes this one stage further to include human reactions to invaders and how impacts can be measured and therefore addressed. Chapter 11 complements this by looking at invasion for the invaders perspective and describing the possibilities of invaders evolving in their new habitat. Finally, we look at assessing the risks and seeing how we can deal with the invaders (if indeed it is cost-effective to do so.

This is an excellent guide to the topic. It covers a significant portion of the study and highlights all the key elements. The aim of this text was to provide a broad overview and in this it has succeeded. Although at this stage a little too complex for secondary students it provides a very good foundation for both theoretical and practical ecology. The focus on human impact and management gives the book a far broader appeal and more useful scope than the more usual ecological focus. Definitely a key text in its field.

 

 

 

 

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