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North Country News
Thu August 23, 2012
Study Looks at Invasive Species Spread Hypotheses
A report has been published that assesses the accuracy of scientific hypotheses that predict how invasive species will spread and affect ecosystems.
The journal Neobiota has published the paper “Support for Major Hypotheses in Invasion Biology is Uneven and Declining". The international team assessed the six primary suppositions used to explain and predict the spread of invasive species. They found half are no longer supported by empirical evidence. Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies Freshwater Ecologist Dr. David Strayer is a co-author of the paper.
The six hypotheses analyzed include the idea that areas of high biodiversity are more resistant to invasives; islands are more vulnerable to invasives; if an area has invasives they’re more likely to get more; invasives have an advantage because there are no natural predators and 10-percent of invasives successfully establish themselves.
Adirondack Park Invasive Plant Program Director Hilary Smith says the hyphotheses are generally those that resource manages and scientists look at when investigating invasive species.
Lake Champlain Research Institute Coordinator Tim Mihuc raised warning flags this summer about the potential invasion of the spiny water flea into Lake Champlain, only to have it spread into Lake George. Mihuc says it’s a very good paper with good conclusions.
The Cary Institute cites data that shows the global economic cost of invasive species due to loss of natural resources, infrastructure damage and increase in infectious diseases is nearly 1-point-4 trillion dollars.