Rapid shifts in dispersal behavior on an expanding range edge

Tom Lindström*, Gregory P. Brown, Scott A. Sisson, Benjamin L. Phillips, Richard Shine

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

86 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Dispersal biology at an invasion front differs from that of populations within the range core, because novel evolutionary and ecological processes come into play in the nonequilibrium conditions at expanding range edges. In a world where species' range limits are changing rapidly, we need to understand how individuals disperse at an invasion front. We analyzed an extensive dataset from radio-tracking invasive cane toads (Rhinella marina) over the first 8 y since they arrived at a site in tropical Australia. Movement patterns of toads in the invasion vanguard differed from those of individuals in the same area postcolonization. Our model discriminated encamped versus dispersive phases within each toad's movements and demonstrated that pioneer toads spent longer periods in dispersive mode and displayed longer, more directed movements while they were in dispersive mode. These analyses predict that overall displacement per year is more than twice as far for toads at the invasion front compared with those tracked a few years later at the same site. Studies on established populations (or even those a few years postestablishment) thus may massively underestimate dispersal rates at the leading edge of an expanding population. This, in turn, will cause us to underpredict the rates at which invasive organisms move into new territory and at which native taxa can expand into newly available habitat under climate change.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)13452-13456
Number of pages5
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Volume110
Issue number33
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 13 Aug 2013
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • hierarchical Bayes
  • shift
  • spatial sorting
  • relocation data
  • hidden states

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