Theoretical Ecology

, Volume 6, Issue 2, pp 153–164

Allee effects, aggregation, and invasion success

  • Andrew R. Kanarek
  • Colleen T. Webb
  • Michael Barfield
  • Robert D. Holt
Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s12080-012-0167-z

Cite this article as:
Kanarek, A.R., Webb, C.T., Barfield, M. et al. Theor Ecol (2013) 6: 153. doi:10.1007/s12080-012-0167-z

Abstract

Understanding the factors that influence successful colonization can help inform ecological theory and aid in the management of invasive species. When founder populations are small, individual fitness may be negatively impacted by component Allee effects through positive density dependence (e.g., mate limitation). Reproductive and survival mechanisms that suffer due to a shortage of conspecifics may scale up to be manifest in a decreased per-capita population growth rate (i.e., a demographic Allee effect). Mean-field population level models are limited in representing how component Allee effects scale up to demographic Allee effects when heterogeneous spatial structure influences conspecific availability. Thus, such models may not adequately characterize the probability of establishment. In order to better assess how individual level processes influence population establishment and spread, we developed a spatially explicit individual-based stochastic simulation of a small founder population. We found that increased aggregation can affect individual fitness and subsequently impact population growth; however, relatively slow dispersal—in addition to initial spatial structure—is required for establishment, ultimately creating a tradeoff between probability of initial establishment and rate of subsequent spread. Since this result is sensitive to the scaling up of component Allee effects, details of individual dispersal and interaction kernels are key factors influencing population level processes. Overall, we demonstrate the importance of considering both spatial structure and individual level traits in assessing the consequences of Allee effects in biological invasions.

Keywords

Biological invasion Allee effect Spatial structure Individual-based simulation 

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Andrew R. Kanarek
    • 1
    • 3
  • Colleen T. Webb
    • 1
  • Michael Barfield
    • 2
  • Robert D. Holt
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of BiologyColorado State UniversityFort CollinsUSA
  2. 2.Department of BiologyUniversity of FloridaGainesvilleUSA
  3. 3.National Institute for Mathematical and Biological SynthesisUniversity of TennesseeKnoxvilleUSA

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