Faculty Publications and Other Works -- Ecology and Evolutionary Biology


How Much Information on Population Biology Is Needed to Manage Introduced Species?

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Study of the population biology of introduced species has elucidated many fundamental questions in ecology and evolution. Detailed population biological research is likely to aid in fine-tuning control of widespread and/or long-established invasions, and it may lead to novel control methods. It will also contribute to an overall understanding of the invasion process that may aid in the formulation of policy and help to focus attention on invasions that are especially prone to becoming problematic. But the importance of intensive population biological research in dealing with introduced species, especially those recently introduced, is often limited. In the worst instances, the absence of population biological data can be an excuse for inaction, when a prudent decision or quick and dirty operation might have excluded or eliminated an invader. The most effective way to deal with invasive introduced species, short of keeping them out, is to discover them early and attempt to eradicate or at least contain them before they spread. This approach has often been successful, but its success has usually relied on brute-force chemical and mechanical techniques, not on population biological research.

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