Population Ecology

, Volume 60, Issue 1–2, pp 61–75 | Cite as

Unexplained variability among spatial replicates in transient elasticity: implications for evolutionary ecology and management of invasive species

  • Carol C. Horvitz
  • Julie S. Denslow
  • Tracy Johnson
  • Orou Gaoue
  • Amanda Uowolo
SPECIAL FEATURE: ORIGINAL ARTICLE Evolutionary demography: the dynamic and broad intersection of ecology and evolution


Understanding actual and potential selection on traits of invasive species requires an assessment of the sources of variation in demographic rates. While some of this variation is assignable to environmental, biotic or historical factors, unexplained demographic variation also may play an important role. Even when sites and populations are chosen as replicates, the residual variation in demographic rates can lead to unexplained divergence of asymptotic and transient population dynamics. This kind of divergence could be important for understanding long- and short- term differences among populations of invasive species, but little is known about it. We investigated the demography of a small invasive tree Psidium cattleianum Sabine in the rainforest of Hawaiʻi at four sites chosen for their ecological similarity. Specifically, we parameterized and analyzed integral projection models (IPM) to investigate projected variability among replicate populations in: (1) total population size and annual per capita population growth rate during the transient and asymptotic periods; (2) population structure initially and asymptotically; (3) three key parameters that characterize transient dynamics (the weighted distance of the structure at each time step from the asymptotic structure, the strength of the sub-dominant relative to the dominant dynamics, and inherent cyclicity in the subdominant); and (4) proportional sensitivity (elasticity) of population growth rates (both asymptotic and transient) to perturbations of various components of the life cycle. We found substantial variability among replicate populations in all these aspects of the dynamics. We discuss potential consequences of variability across ecologically similar sites for management and evolutionary ecology in the exotic range of invasive species.


Hawaiʻi Integral projection model Invasive tree Psidium cattleianum Selection during transient dynamics 



We thank Cheyenne Perry USDA FS; Erin Raboin USDA FS; Nancy Chaney USDA FS; University of Hawaiʻi-Hilo student volunteers and assistants for help for help with field measurements and data management. We thank the Division of Forestry and Wildlife, Hawaiʻi Department of Land & Natural Resources (DLNR) for supporting establishment of study plots on Forest and Natural Area Reserves and USDA Forest Service and the DLNR Hawaiʻi Watershed Partnership Program for funding.

Supplementary material

10144_2018_613_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (712 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (PDF 711 KB)


  1. Asner GP, Hughes RF, Varga TA, Knapp DE, Kennedy-Bowdoin T (2009) Environmental and biotic controls over aboveground biomass throughout a tropical rain forest. Ecosystems 12:261–278CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Buckley YM, Rees M, Sheppard AW, Smyth MJ (2005) Stable coexistence of an invasive plant and biocontrol agent: a parameterized coupled plant-herbivore model. J Appl Ecol 42:70–79CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Caswell H (2001) Matrix population models: construction, analysis, and interpretation. Sinauer, SunderlandGoogle Scholar
  4. Caswell H (2007) Sensitivity analysis of transient population dynamics. Ecol Lett 10:1–15CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  5. Easterling MR, Ellner SP, Dixon PM (2000) Size-specific sensitivity: applying a new structured population model. Ecology 81:694–708CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Ellner SP, Rees M (2006) Integral projection models for species with complex demography. Am Nat 167:410–428CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  7. Fox GA, Gurevitch J (2000) Population numbers count: tools for near-term demographic analysis. Am Nat 156:242–256PubMedGoogle Scholar
  8. Gagne WC, Cuddihy LW (1999) Vegetation. In: Wagner WL, Herbst DR, Sohmer SH (eds) Manual of the flowering plants of Hawaiʻi. Bishop Museum Special Publication 87. Univ. Hawaiʻi and Bishop Museum Press, Honolulu, pp 45–114Google Scholar
  9. Gaoue O (2016) Transient dynamics reveal the importance of early life survival to the response of a tropical tree to harvest. J Appl Ecol 53:112–119CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Giambelluca TW, Schroeder TA (1998) Climate. In: Juvik SP, Juvik JO (eds) Atlas of Hawaiʻi. Univ. Hawaiʻi Press, Honolulu, pp 49–59Google Scholar
  11. Giambelluca TW, Nullet MA, Schroeder TA (1986) Rainfall atlas of Hawaiʻi. R76. Dept. of Land and Natural Resources. Div. of Water and Land Development, HonoluluGoogle Scholar
  12. Haridas CV, Tuljapurkar S (2007) Time, transients and elasticity. Ecol Lett 10:1143–1153CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  13. Horvitz CC, Pascarella JB, McMann S, Freedman A, Hofstetter RH (1998) Functional roles of invasive non-indigenous plants in hurricane-affected subtropical hardwood forests. Ecol Appl 8:947–974CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Iles DT, Salguero-Gómez R, Adler PB, Koons DN (2016) Linking transient dynamics and life history to biological invasion success. J Ecol 104:399–408CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Keyfitz N (1968) Introduction to the mathematics of population. Addison-Wesley, ReadingGoogle Scholar
  16. Koons DN, Grand JB, Zinner B, Rockwell RF (2005) Transient population dynamics: relations to life history and initial population state. Ecol Model 185:283–297CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Maron JL, Horvitz CC, Williams JL (2010) Using experiments, demography and population models to estimate interaction strength based on transient and asymptotic dynamics. J Ecol 98:290–301CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. McMahon SM, Metcalf CJE (2008) Transient sensitivities of non-indigenous shrub species indicate complicated invasion dynamics. Biol Invasions 10:833–846CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Morris WF, Tuljapurkar S, Haridas CV, Menges ES, Horvitz CC, Pfister CA (2006) Sensitivity of the population growth rate to demographic variability within and between phases of the disturbance cycle. Ecol Lett 9:1331–1341CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  20. Pearse IS, Altermatt F (2013) Predicting novel trophic interactions in a non-native world. Ecol Lett 16:1088–1094CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  21. Saul WC, Jeschke JM (2015) Eco-evolutionary experience in novel species interactions. Ecol Lett 18:236–245CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  22. State of Hawaiʻi, Department of Agriculture (2011) Final environmental assessment: biocontrol of strawberry guava by its natural control agent for preservation of native forests in the Hawaiian Islands. State of Hawaiʻi, HonoluluGoogle Scholar
  23. Stott I, Franco M, Carslake D, Townley S, Hodgson D (2010) Boom or bust? A meta-analysis of transient population dynamics in plants. J Ecol 98:302–311CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Takahashi M, Giambelluca TW, Mudd RG, DeLay JK, Nullet MA, Asner GP (2011) Rainfall partitioning and cloud water interception in native forest and invaded forest in Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park. Hydrol Process 25:448–464CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Townley S, Hodgson DJ (2008) Erratum et addendum: transient amplification and attenuation in stage-structured population dynamics. J Appl Ecol 45:1836–1839CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Townley S, Carslake D, Kellie-Smith O, McCarthy D, Hodgson DJ (2007) Predicting transient amplification in perturbed ecological systems. J Appl Ecol 44:1243–1251CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Tuljapurkar S, Horvitz CC, Pascarella J (2003) The many growth rates and elasticities of populations in random environments. Am Nat 162:489–502CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  28. Uowolo AL, Denslow JS (2008) Characteristics of the Psidium cattleianum (Myrtaceae) seed bank in Hawaiian lowland wet forests. Pac Sci 62:129–135CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Vitorino MD, Pedrosa-Macedo JH, Smith CW (2000) The biology of Tectococcus ovatus Hampel (Heteroptera: Eriococcidae) and its potential as a biocontrol agent of Psidium cattleianum (Myrtaceae) In: Spencer NR (ed) Proceedings of the X International Symposium on Biological Control of Weeds, 4–14 July 1999. Montana State University, Bozeman, Montana, pp 651–657Google Scholar
  30. Wolfe EW, Morris J (1996) Geologic map of the Island of Hawaiʻi. Map 1-2524A. U. S. Department of the Interior, U. S. Geological Survey Miscellaneous Investigations Series, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  31. Zuidema PA, Jongejans E, Chien PD, During HJ, Schieving F (2010) Integral projection models for trees: a new parameterization method and a validation of model output. J Ecol 98:345–355CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© The Society of Population Ecology and Springer Japan KK, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Carol C. Horvitz
    • 1
  • Julie S. Denslow
    • 2
  • Tracy Johnson
    • 1
  • Orou Gaoue
    • 4
    • 5
  • Amanda Uowolo
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Biology, Institute of Theoretical and Mathematical EcologyUniversity of MiamiCoral GablesUSA
  2. 2.Department of Ecology and Evolutionary BiologyTulane UniversityNew OrleansUSA
  3. 3.USDA Forest ServiceInstitute of Pacific Islands ForestryVolcanoUSA
  4. 4.Department of BotanyUniversity of Hawaiʻi at ManoaHonoluluUSA
  5. 5.Universite de ParakouParakouBenin

Personalised recommendations