Biological invasions constitute major threats to global biodiversity. Eco-evolutionary considerations highlight the importance of contemporary evolution in community responses to bioinvasions. However, effects of metapopulation structure on invasion success have been mostly overlooked even though metapopulation structure determines gene flow and is likely to affect evolutionary processes. Here, we investigate a stepping-stone model with evolving alien native interaction strengths. We demonstrate analytically that the site of invasion can determine the success of an invading consumer because gene flow and demography of a local resource species interact to obstruct local resource adaptation. Our main results are 1) that invasion success is more likely in genetic sink populations of the native species and 2) that invasion is more likely to occur against the migrational flow of native species. These findings suggest that invasibility is best regarded as an emergent property not only of communities but of entire metapopulations. Since migration networks of aliens and natives are often mismatched due to anthropogenic interference, our results indicate how population structure eases the spread of invasives against the migrational flow of natives.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics