Alan Hastings, Kim Cuddington, Kendi F. Davies, Christopher J. Dugaw, Sarah Elmendorf, Amy Freestone, Susan Harrison, Matthew Holland, John Lambrinos, Urmila Malvadkar, Brett A. Melbourne, Kara Moore, Caz Taylor and Diane Thomson (2005)

The spatial spread of invasions: new developments in theory and evidence

Ecology Letters 8(1): 91-101

Key words: Diffusion, dispersal, integro-difference equations, invasions, reaction-diffusion, spatial spread


We review and synthesize recent developments in the study of the spread of invasive species, emphasizing both empirical and theoretical approaches. Recent theoretical work has shown that invasive species spread is a much more complex process than the classical models suggested, as long range dispersal events can have a large influence on the rate of range expansion through time. Empirical work goes even further, emphasizing the role of spatial heterogeneity, temporal variability, other species, and evolution. As in some of the classic work on spread, the study of range expansion of invasive species provides unique opportunities to use differences between theory and data to determine the important underlying processes that control spread rates.