The colonization of novel Anthropocene habitats: Insects on introduced plants

Mr Roberto Padovani1, Dr Andrew Salisbury2, Ms Helen Bostock2, Dr David Roy3, Professor Chris  Thomas1

1The University of York, York, United Kingdom, 2The Royal Horticultural Society, Wisley, United Kingdom, 3The Center for Ecology and Hydrology, Wallingford, United Kingdom

The number of species is increasing in many regions, despite overall declining global biodiversity. These increases are partly generated by the movement of species into new regions, where they may occupy novel habitats created by human activities. Currently, the rules governing species accumulation in anthropogenic novel habitats are poorly developed. We use non-native plants introduced to Great Britain as replicated exemplars of novel anthropogenic habitats for insects, analysing a combination of local-scale experimental plot data, and geographic-scale (national) data contained within the Database of Insects and their Food Plants (DBIF). We find that novel habitats accumulate the greatest diversity of associated taxa when they are widespread, and show some resemblance to habitats which have been present historically (based on native-introduced plant relatedness), with insect generalists colonising from a wider range of sources. Despite reduced per-plant diversity, exotic plants (novel anthropogenic habitats) may support distinctive insect communities, sometimes including insect taxa that are otherwise rare or absent, thus contributing to, and potentially increasing, broader-scale (assemblage) diversity in regions that contain mixtures of long-standing and novel habitats.


Biography:

My research investigates changing diversity in the Anthropocene, using non-native plant – insect interactions as a model system. I am interested in how species accumulate in novel habitats, and in the impacts that these habitats have on the spread of non-native species into new regions. In addition to my doctoral research I am also very active in science communication/outreach work, and run an outreach group promoting the consumption of insects as a sustainable food source.

Species on the Move

An International Conference Series

The conference brings together scientists and natural resource managers working in the disciplines of global change, biogeography and evolution, and relevant in contexts of natural resource management, biodiversity management and conservation, and theoretical ecology.


Species responses to climate change is a rapidly evolving research field, however, much of our progress is being made in independent research areas: e.g. understanding the process vs responding to the implications, terrestrial vs marine ecosystems, global meta-analyses vs in depth species-specific approaches. This interdisciplinary conference develops connections between these parallel streams, and across temporal and spatial scales.

Conference Managers

Please contact the team at Conference Design with any questions regarding the conference.

© 2015 - 2019 Conference Design Pty Ltd