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Introducing “The Elton Reviews,” a new series in biological invasions

Charles Elton’s 1958 monograph, The Ecology of Invasions by Animals and Plants, is widely (though inaccurately) credited with launching the modern study of biological invasions (Simberloff 2011). While there is no doubt that this seminal, widely cited work has been highly influential, Elton’s writings on impacts of some introduced non-native species predate the monograph by three decades (Simberloff 2011). Elton’s early recognition of the ecological and economic effects of plant and animal invaders and his frustration with the difficulty of predicting invasions remain a focus for researchers today. Here we introduce a new series in Biological Invasions, The Elton Reviews, named in honor of Charles Elton. Articles in this new series will provide a forum for authors to harness the momentum and progress of invasion research over the last three decades in order to propose novel ideas and, as Elton did throughout his career, chart a new synthetic map for critical research (Richardson and Pyšek 2007). Needed research includes predicting future invasions and their impacts on biodiversity and biosecurity under global change, effective prevention, detection, and management strategies and technologies, mitigation of impacts, and ingenious new interdisciplinary approaches.

The inaugural Elton Review, authored by Gioria and Pyšek (2016), addresses the role of seed germination in the success of plant invasions. The authors compare germination strategies of invasive plants and their non-invasive congeners, identifying traits such as early and rapid germination and broader germination cues as more commonly found in invasive plants than native species. However, the authors also point out the dearth of field studies—a gaping hole in a rapidly changing world.

Elton Reviews are invited in-depth reviews written by leading scientists engaged in exciting, groundbreaking research, and we encourage a personal perspective with a provocative discussion likely to advance the field and spark innovative research. Although relevant older work should be discussed, an Elton Review is less a literature review than a new forum to accelerate synthesis of extant data and hypotheses that can provide deep context for an existing approach, shine a bright light on research gaps, and potentially stimulate new approaches. Detailed instructions for authors can be found on the journal webpage (


  1. Gioria M, Pyšek P (2016) Early bird catches the worm: germination as a critical step in plant invasion. Biol Invasions. doi:10.1007/s10530-016-1349-1

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  2. Richardson DM, Pyšek P (2007) Classics in ecology revisited: Elton, C.S. 1958: the ecology of invasions by animals and plants. London: Methuen. Prog Phys Geogr 31:659–666

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  3. Simberloff D (2011) Charles Elton: neither founder nor siren, but prophet. In: Richardson DM (ed) Fifty years of invasion ecology: the legacy of Charles Elton. Blackwell Publishing Ltd, Hoboken, pp 11–24

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Correspondence to Daniel Simberloff.

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Meyerson, L.A., Simberloff, D. Introducing “The Elton Reviews,” a new series in biological invasions. Biol Invasions 19, 1053–1054 (2017).

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