Nessledge, G. M., B. A. Maurer, and S. H. Gage. 2007. Gypsy moth response to landscape structure differs from neutral model predictions: Implications for invasion monitoring. Biological Invasions 9:585-595.
Simulations of dispersal across computer- generated neutral landscapes have generated testable predictions about the relationship between dispersal success and landscape structure. Models predict a threshold response in dispersal success with increasing habitat fragmentation. A threshold is defined as an abrupt, disproportionate decline in dispersal success at a certain proportion of habitat in the landscape. To identify potential empirical threshold responses in invasion success to landscape structure, we quantified the relationship between progression of the gypsy moth (Lymantriadispar) invasion wave front across Michigan (1985–1996) and the structure of the Michigan landscape using two indices of invasion success and six landscape metrics. We also examined the effect of scale of analysis and choice of land cover characterization on our results by repeating our analysis at three scales using two different land cover maps. Contrary to simulation model predictions, thresholds in invasion success did not correspond closely with thresholds in landscape structure metrics. Increased variation in invasion success indices at smaller scales of analysis also suggested that invasion success should be studied atlarger spatial extents (‡75km2) than would be appropriate for characterizing individual dispersal events. The predictions of individual dispersal models across neutral landscapes may have limited applications for the monitoring and management of vagile species with excellent dispersal capabilities such as the gypsy moth.
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