• Post category:2021 / News
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22 February 2021 | By Guillaume Latombe

Despite the fact that, by definition, alien species invade ecological communities, invasion and community ecology have mostly grown independently. This led to differences in how ecological processes are considered in the two fields, which can be detrimental for understanding and predicting the spread and impacts of alien species.

During a three-day workshop in September 2018 organised at the C∙I∙B by former postdoctoral fellow Guillaume Latombe (now a Lecturer at the University of Edinburgh), 19 international researchers (including C∙I∙B Core Team Members Karen Esler, Cang Hui, John Measey & David Richardson) designed a framework to synthesize the content of the two fields, provide a general perspective on their development, and enable their comparison.

In the resulting article published in Ecosphere, the framework is applied to 65 models from the two fields, and highlights that invasion ecology, with a strong applied focus, tends to consider single processes independently, or limited combinations of processes, reflecting the need for rapid management of single species.

In contrast, community ecology, with a longer history, has moved towards studying combinations of multiple ecological processes, to search for an overarching theory to explain community assembly and structure.

This work not only provides a synthesis of representative models in the two fields, but also to identify differences and overlaps between them.

We hope that the bridge developed in this paper will help to advance both fields concurrently, by combining theoretical and experimental approaches,” says Guillaume Latombe.“Ultimately, the successful integration of the two fields could advance a predictive ecology that is urgently required in a rapidly changing world.”

Read the paper

Latombe, G., D. M. Richardson, M. A. McGeoch, R. Altwegg, J. A. Catford, J. M. Chase, F. Courchamp, K. J. Esler, J. M. Jeschke, P. Landi, J. Measey, G. F. Midgley, H. O. Minoarivelo, J. G. Rodger, and C. Hui. 2021. Mechanistic reconciliation of community and invasion ecology. Ecosphere 12(2):e03359. 10.1002/ecs2.3359 (https://esajournals.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/ecs2.3359)

For more information, contact Guillaume Latombe at latombe.guillaume@gmail.com

Relationship between community (rows) and invasion (columns) models presented as a bipartite network
Relationship between community (rows) and invasion (columns) models presented as a bipartite network.