Understanding when biocontrol and enemy release affect introduced plant and animal populations

DP190100243:Australian Research CouncilDiscovery Grant


The species introduce alterations in the function of the ecosystem, are the second cause of extinction in the world and question billions of dollars per year in the loss of agricultural productivity. One of the factors that sustains the success of the introduced species is their escape from herbivores, predators and pathogens in the joint evolution. This is known as “enemy liberation”. The release of enemies can allow introduced species to allocate more energy for growth and reproduction, increase their competitive capacity and facilitate expansion to new territories. Existing studies on enemy liberation reveal that introduced species experience enemy liberation about half the time. However, very few attempts have been made to synthesize the theory or the data. In this project, we will use an international field study to test hypotheses about the circumstances in the plants they make, and do not experience the release of the enemy. Pollination data are also presented to quantify the extent to which plants lose their beneficial interactions when introduced into a new range. Our research provides new perspectives on the factors that facilitate invasions focused on the release of the enemy, a key mechanism by which introduced species can overcome native species. This improved understanding, combined with new information on the interaction between the release of energy and biological control, the management of the media, the handling of information, biological control. This work is also important for our understanding of the factors that make introduced species so successful.