Invasion dynamics of round goby (Neogobius melanostomus) in Hamilton Harbour, Lake Ontario
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- Vélez-Espino, L.A., Koops, M.A. & Balshine, S. Biol Invasions (2010) 12: 3861. doi:10.1007/s10530-010-9777-9
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Most introduced non-native species fail to establish as a result of mortality or reproductive failure. An established population can increase the probability of survival and reproductive success of newly introduced individuals by reducing both Allee effects and demographic stochasticity. Previously, attention has been paid to the establishment phase of the invasion process and its probability modelled as a stochastic process, while the spread phase has received less attention. By analyzing data collected during the spread phase of an invasion of the round goby, Neogobius melanostomus, in Hamilton Harbour, Lake Ontario, we develop an analytical approach to backcalculate the time to establishment and to determine the time to habitat saturation. Our modelling shows that: (1) during the transition between arrival and establishment, propagule pressure in the form of new adults entering the area can be very low and still represent a significant probability of establishment; (2) much higher concentrations of juveniles would be needed to pose a significant risk of invasion; (3) the demographic contribution of propagule pressure during the spread phase is low and its total elimination will not halt population growth and spread; (4) a short elapsed time between arrival and establishment indicated that the transition between these two phases can be characterized as a deterministic process with high propagule pressure and low adult mortality rates; and, (5) very aggressive management actions would be needed to halt population growth after population establishment, suggesting that preventative measures are the most effective management options available to reduce risk of future invasions.