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Oct 12 2012 | 2:30 - 3:30pm AKDT

Webinars, Seminars and Presentations


Elvey Auditorium (Room 214), Elvey Building
University of Alaska, Fairbanks, AK

This free Life Sciences Seminar Series is hosted by the Institute of Arctic Biology, University of Alaska Fairbanks.

Name: Daniel Simberloff, Nancy Gore Hunger Professor of Environmental Studies

Affiliation: Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Tennessee

Title: Invasion biology: Where did it come from, where is it going, and why don't some people like it?

Invasion biology is a very new discipline, even though people recorded introduced species by the 18th century. Contrary to popular belief, it did not begin with Elton's 1958 monograph, but rather with the SCOPE project of the 1980s.

Because invasion biology is so young, the SCOPE questions are still relevant: (1) Why are some species invasive? (2) Why are some habitats invasible? 3) How can knowledge about (1) and (2) aid management of troublesome invaders? Of course the questions have evolved, and we now know that questions (1) and (2) are inextricably linked, but the sorts of detailed, case-specific research that has led to this realization remains important.

Evolutionary research was not part of the SCOPE project, but it has increasingly become a prominent part of invasion biology. Ecosystem impacts were originally just a minor component, and they have now become one of its leading edges, particularly as ecological research on aboveground-belowground interactions has proliferated. In the midst of an explosion of research activity, critics have lambasted invasion biology and management on several grounds, most notably charging that the claimed harmful impacts are overblown, that many introduced species are beneficial, that the attempt to control invasions is futile, and that the entire enterprise is tainted with xenophobia. These arguments are largely misguided.