Chapter

Wetlands: Functioning, Biodiversity Conservation, and Restoration

Volume 191 of the series Ecological Studies pp 61-90

Biological Invasions: Concepts to Understand and Predict a Global Threat

  • Gerard van der VeldeAffiliated withDepartment of Animal Ecology and Ecophysiology, Institute for Wetland and Water Research, Radboud University Nijmegen
  • , Sanjeevi RajagopalAffiliated withDepartment of Animal Ecology and Ecophysiology, Institute for Wetland and Water Research, Radboud University Nijmegen
  • , Mirjam Kuyper-KollenaarAffiliated withDepartment of Animal Ecology and Ecophysiology, Institute for Wetland and Water Research, Radboud University Nijmegen
  • , Abraham Bij de VaateAffiliated withWaterfauna Hydrobiological Consultancy
  • , David W. ThieltgesAffiliated withAlfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research, Wadden Sea Station Sylt
  • , Hugh J. MacIsaacAffiliated withGreat Lakes Institute for Environmental Research, University of Windsor

* Final gross prices may vary according to local VAT.

Get Access

Abstract

Charles Elton was the modern founder of the science of biological invasions. He wrote that ‘biological invasions are so frequent nowadays in every conti- nent and island, and even in the oceans, that we need to understand what is causing them and try to arrive at some general viewpoint about the whole business ’ (Elton 1958). He tried to predict the outcome of global invasion processes and assumed that invasions would result in homogenization of regional floras and faunas. The prediction of homogenization was formulated earlier by Lyell (1832) who, in contrast to Elton (1958), did not consider the resulting human-caused extinctions to be a cause of concern because, in his opinion, this was a natural process (Wilkinson 2004). Interest in biological invasions has rapidly increased in recent decades and today biological inva- sions are a major concern in ecology and conservation. Particularly dramatic consequences of invasions have been reported from island ecosystems where endemic species suffered severely, but wetlands (marshes, lakes, rivers) and estuaries are also among the most affected systems (Moyle 1996;Williamson 1996;Ruiz et al.1997). On the background of accelerating invasion rates, sci- ence has become increasingly interested in understanding the underlying mechanisms of biological invasions to predict invasion processes and impacts. Following a brief overview on the nature and impacts of invasions, we review different concepts regarding determinants of invasion success. We also highlight promising research areas to cope with this major threat to bio- diversity in wetlands.