Mutualisms are relationships between organisms of different species in which each individual benefits from the activity of the other. These relationships are hugely important in nature. Essential services provided by mutualists include pollination, seed dispersal and the constitution of global cycles of carbon and other nutrients.
The new approach of ‘sustainable intensification’ in the livestock industry aims to increase food production from existing farmland while minimising pressure on the environment. While beneficial in many respects, this approach poses a major environmental risk, since many newly developed pasture plants pose a high risk of becoming invasive.
Island biogeography theory predicts that most island species originate from nearby mainland regions and therefore arrive through rare, long-distance dispersal events. How close islands are to mainland regions must therefore be an important factor in determining the make-up of island biotas.