Effect of matrix habitat on the spread of flea beetle introductions for biological control of leafy spurge

Ian D. Jonsen*, Robert S. Bourchier, Jens Roland

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


Matrix habitats are known to influence the movement patterns of a variety of species but it is less well known whether these effects have strong implications for spatial population dynamics, including the spread of biological introductions. Using a spatially explicit simulation model parameterized with empirical data, we examine how grass and shrub matrix habitats, each offering different resistance to dispersal, influence the spread and impact of a biocontrol agent, Aphthona lacertosa, on the invasive weed, leafy spurge. Model predictions indicate that differential responses to matrix habitat have little effect on the agent's spread over the study landscape and this is supported by statistical models fit to observed A. lacertosa incidence on the same landscape. Subsequent experimentation with the simulation model suggested that A. lacertosa colonization rates were largely unaffected by increases in amount of the more restrictive shrub matrix. However, simulations of an hypothetical species with greater overall dispersal ability but reduced dispersal rate through shrub matrix showed that colonization rates were noticeably reduced when the percentage of shrub matrix on the landscape approached 50%. Combined these results suggest that some tailoring of release strategies may be required to accommodate the unique dispersal capabilities of different biocontrol agents on particular release landscapes, but for A. lacertosa there appears to be little effect of matrix habitat structure on rates of spread.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)883-896
Number of pages14
JournalLandscape Ecology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Aphthona lacertosa
  • Biological control
  • Connectivity
  • Dispersal
  • Euphorbia esula
  • Landscape
  • Simulation model
  • Spatial dynamics
  • Weed biocontrol


Dive into the research topics of 'Effect of matrix habitat on the spread of flea beetle introductions for biological control of leafy spurge'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this