This week the department is pleased to welcome our own James Sinclair.
What drives colonist success?
Colonization plays a central role in much of the theory (e.g. metapopulations) and applications (e.g. biocontrol, invasion, recovery) of ecology. Because of its importance, it is essential that we develop our understanding of, and ability to manage, the colonization process. One of the primary population-level factors that can influence colonist success is the number of colonists. Larger populations are more likely to colonize because they are less vulnerable to the demographic, environmental, and genetic processes that can drive extinction. Applied efforts to control colonist success are likewise often focused on augmenting or reducing the size of colonizing populations. However, there are other, less studied, factors that could also affect colonist success, such as the quality of colonists or the frequency with which new individuals arrive. The goal of my PhD work was to investigate the relative importance of multiple colonist characteristics – specifically population size, colonist quality, and arrival frequency. Is there a single, dominant factor that drives colonist success? Or can their relative importance vary, and if so what might that mean for how we manage colonization?
The EEB Seminars run weekly, on Thursdays, in the EEB Lounge of the BioSciences Complex, Room 4338, from 12:30-1:30pm.