Using network theory to understand and predict biological invasions
Frost CM, Allen WJ, Courchamp F, Jeschke JM, Saul W-C, Wardle DA – 2019
Understanding and predicting biological invasions is challenging because of the complexity of many interacting players. A holistic approach is needed with the potential to simultaneously consider all relevant effects and effectors. Using networks to describe the relevant anthropogenic and ecological factors, from community-level to global scales, promises advances in understanding aspects of invasion from propagule pressure, through establishment, spread, and ecological impact of invaders. These insights could lead to development of new tools for prevention and management of invasions that are based on species’ network characteristics and use of networks to predict the ecological effects of invaders. Here, we review the findings from network ecology that show the most promise for invasion biology and identify pressing needs for future research.