Navigation Links
Wildlife corridors sometimes help invasive species spread, UF research finds
Date:8/6/2014

GAINESVILLE, Fla. When the ants come marching in, having miles of linked habitats may not be such a good idea after all.

In a classic example of the law of unintended consequences, new University of Florida research suggests that wildlife corridors strips of natural land created to reconnect habitats separated by agriculture or human activities -- can sometimes encourage the spread of invasive species such as one type of fire ant.

The findings are particularly important in Florida, where invasive species are a vexing problem. The Sunshine State plays host to animals such as Cuban tree frogs, green iguanas and feral hogs. In 2013, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission even sponsored a Burmese python hunting challenge.

The discovery also comes as a team of explorers prepares to embark this fall on its second 1,000-mile expedition to raise support for the Florida Wildlife Corridor. The organization's goal is to create a corridor stretching from Everglades National Park to the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge in Georgia.

Could corridors be used by invasive species to spread across conservation lands? Sometimes, according to research by Julian Resasco, who led a study of red imported fire ants while he was a doctoral student in biology at UF. Resasco and his colleagues found that one type of fire ant used wildlife corridors to dominate recently created landscapes. Resasco's paper is published in the August issue of Ecology.

"Although habitat corridors are usually beneficial, they occasionally have negative effects," he said. "Sometimes they can help invasive species spread in exactly the same way they help native species."

The challenge for ecologists is to figure out when invasive species are likely to benefit from corridors. Resasco's results initially surprised the researchers because invasive species are usually talented in their ability to invade new areas -- they shouldn't need corridors to get around. Fire ants turned out to be an exception that proves the rule.

They have two social forms: monogyne and polygyne. Monogyne fire ants fly high in the air to mate and disperse, raining down to create new colonies. Polygyne fire ants, on the other hand, mate low to the ground and sometimes crawl short distances to create new colonies. They don't spread widely and their colonies are dense.

Resasco and his team went to South Carolina to study eight sections of land, each dominated by one of the two social forms. Each section consisted of five patches of regenerating habitat. Each patch was about the size of a football field. Some were connected by a corridor and others were not, allowing the researchers to study the influence of corridors.

The researchers found that corridors significantly increased the abundance of polygyne -- but not monogyne -- fire ants. In polygyne sections, native ant species' diversity was lower in patches connected by corridors than in unconnected patches. That was most likely due to the higher fire ant abundance, according to the study.

Ultimately, Resasco said, whether corridors spread invasive species depends on dispersal ability: "It is not a coincidence that the readily dispersing monogyne form of fire ants doesn't benefit from corridors, whereas the poorly dispersing polygyne form does." For better or worse, poorly dispersing invasive species are exceptional.

More analysis is necessary to determine whether the effects of corridors on invasive species are transient or permanent. In the meantime, Resasco's paper urges land managers to consider animals' traits when making decisions about land corridors. In rare cases, their best intentions could backfire by aiding invasive species.


'/>"/>

Contact: Julian Resasco
jresasco@colorado.edu
352-222-5917
University of Florida
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Is bioenergy expansion harmful to wildlife?
2. UMass Amherst wildlife researcher photographs rare Sumatran rabbit
3. First seabed sonar to measure marine energy effect on environment and wildlife
4. Elsevier launches International Journal for Parasitology: Parasites and Wildlife
5. Wildlife Conservation Society releases list of Asian species at the conservation crossroads
6. Powerful tool to fight wildlife crime unveiled
7. Relocating elephants fails to decrease human-wildlife conflict
8. If you cut down a tree in the forest, can wildlife hear it?
9. Wildlife monitoring cameras click jaguar and ocelot photos
10. Worlds leading lion researcher calls for a Marshall Plan for African wildlife
11. Protected wildlife areas are welcome mats for UKs bird newcomers
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:4/5/2017)... Allen Institute for Cell Science today announces the launch ... dynamic digital window into the human cell. The website ... deep learning to create predictive models of cell organization, ... suite of powerful tools. The Allen Cell Explorer will ... resources created and shared by the Allen Institute for ...
(Date:4/4/2017)... NEW YORK , April 4, 2017   ... solutions, today announced that the United States Patent and ... The patent broadly covers the linking of an iris ... the same transaction) and represents the company,s 45 th ... our latest patent is very timely given the multi-modal ...
(Date:3/30/2017)... The research team of The Hong Kong ... identification by adopting ground breaking 3D fingerprint minutiae recovery and matching ... and accuracy for use in identification, crime investigation, immigration control, security ... ... A research team led by ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:7/26/2017)... ... July 25, 2017 , ... ... services that are necessary in the preparation and development of human cells and ... operates under the US Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Current Good Manufacturing Practices ...
(Date:7/26/2017)... ... July 26, 2017 , ... DuPont Pioneer ... of crop productivity and economics for the food, feed and biofuel industries, announced ... agreement includes the research and development of microbiome-based seed treatments in corn. The ...
(Date:7/25/2017)... , ... July 25, 2017 , ... ... enhance the microbiome and improve efficiency of livestock farming while reducing the use ... has licensed additional intellectual property from Cornell University. , These new proprietary ...
(Date:7/24/2017)... FL (PRWEB) , ... July ... ... Strategic Analyst, Kenny Soulstring, today announced that the stock market news outlet ... in risk assessment diagnostic testing that screens and identifies exposure, progression and ...
Breaking Biology Technology: