Ecology of Biological Invasions of North America and Hawaii

Volume 58 of the series Ecological Studies pp 96-110

Life History of Colonizing Plants: Some Demographic, Genetic, and Physiological Features

  • F. A. Bazzaz

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The term “colonizer” has come to mean different things to different biologists. In a general sense all species are colonizers, as they all must become established in sites in which to grow and reproduce. Agriculturalists have equated colonizers with undesirable and, in many cases, nonnative species that affect agroeco-systems detrimentally by reducing the growth and yield of the desired species. In this agronomic sense the terms colonizers, “weeds,” and often “aliens,” are synonymous. Theoretical ecologists usually think of colonizers as those species whose disseminules travel relatively long distances, and arrive in unoccupied or presumably incompletely occupied habitats where they subsequently interact with other species present or become locally extinct [e.g., the island biogeographic model of Mac Arthur and Wilson (1967)].