Thursday, February 09, 2012

Are Invasive Species Evil?

Mark Davis argues against seeing invasive species as evil aliens.

In his talk today, "Invasion Biology, the Science and the Ideology" Davis lambasted a prominent paper on Garlic Mustard invasion, Ready or Not, Garlic Mustard Is Moving In: Alliaria petiolata as a Member of Eastern North American Forests. 2008. Vikki L. Rodgers, Kristina A. Stinson, Adrien C. Finzi. Bioscience. He looked up a half dozen of their key citations and showed how the original papers did not support or even directly contradicted, the claims in this prominent paper. Davis argues, persuasively, that ecologists have been too quick to lay blame on invasive plants.

He wrote a paper in 2011, Don't judge species on their origins. 2011 Nature. Mark A. Davis, et al. arguing conservationists should assess organisms on environmental impact rather than on whether they are natives. Are invasive species drivers, or passengers of species loss. They may be beneficiaries rather than agents of change. Eventually, intraspecific competition triumphs over interspecific competition as invasive species run up against resource limitations. Over time, invasive species advantages may erode as other species learn to use them as resources, too. Negative soil feedbacks accumulate over time for non-native plant species. Ecology Letters. Jeffrey M. Diez, Ian Dickie, et al.

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