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Creators/Authors contains: "Shaw, Allison K."

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  1. Abstract

    Species engage in mutually beneficial interspecific interactions (mutualisms) that shape their population dynamics in ecological communities. Species engaged in mutualisms vary greatly in their degree of dependence on their partner from complete dependence (e.g., yucca and yucca moth mutualism) to low dependence (e.g., generalist bee with multiple plant species). While current empirical studies show that, in mutualisms, partner dependence can alter the speed of a species' range expansion, there is no theory that provides conditions when expansion is sped up or slowed down. To address this, we built a spatially explicit model incorporating the population dynamics of two dispersing species interacting mutualistically. We explored how mutualisms impacted range expansion across a gradient of dependence (from complete independence to obligacy) between the two species. We then studied the conditions in which the magnitude of the mutualistic benefits could hinder versus enhance the speed of range expansion. We showed that either complete dependence, no dependence, or intermediate degree of dependence on a mutualist partner can lead to the greatest speeds of a focal species' range expansion based on the magnitude of benefits exchanged between partner species in the mutualism. We then showed how different degrees of dependence between species could alter the spatial distribution of the range expanding populations. Finally, we identified the conditions under which mutualistic interactions can turn exploitative across space, leading to the formation of a species' range limits. Our work highlights how couching mutualisms and mutualist dependence in a spatial context can provide insights about species range expansions, limits, and ultimately their distributions.

     
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  2. Ongoing environmental changes alter how natural selection shapes animal migration. Understanding how these changes play out theoretically can be done using evolutionary game theoretic (EGT) approaches, such as looking for evolutionarily stable strategies. Here, we first describe historical patterns of how EGT models have explored different drivers of migration. We find that there are substantial gaps in both the taxa (mammals, amphibians, reptiles, insects) and mechanisms (mutualism, interspecific competition) included in past EGT models of migration. Although enemy interactions, including parasites, are increasingly considered in models of animal migration, they remain the least studied of factors for migration considered to date. Furthermore, few papers look at changes in migration in response to perturbations (e.g. climate change, new species interactions). To address this gap, we present a new EGT model to understand how infection with a novel parasite changes host migration. We find three possible outcomes when migrants encounter novel parasites: maintenance of migration (despite the added infection cost), loss of migration (evolutionary shift to residency) or population collapse, depending on the risk and cost of getting infected, and the cost currency. Our work demonstrates how emerging infection can alter animal behaviour such as migration. This article is part of the theme issue ‘Half a century of evolutionary games: a synthesis of theory, application and future directions’. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available May 8, 2024
  3. Abstract

    Herbivores shape plant invasions through impacts on demography and dispersal, yet only demographic mechanisms are well understood. Although herbivores negatively impact demography by definition, they can affect dispersal either negatively (e.g., seed consumption), or positively (e.g., caching). Exploring the nuances of how herbivores influence spatial spread will improve the forecasting of plant movement on the landscape. Here, we aim to understand how herbivores impact how fast plant populations spread through varying impacts on plant demography and dispersal. We strive to determine whether, and under what conditions, we see net positive effects of herbivores, in order to find scenarios where herbivores can help to promote spread. We draw on classic invasion theory to develop a stage‐structured integrodifference equation model that incorporates herbivore impacts on plant demography and dispersal. We simulate seven herbivore “syndromes” (combinations of demographic and/or dispersal effects) drawn from the literature to understand how increasing herbivore pressure alters plant spreading speed. We find that herbivores with solely negative effects on plant demography or dispersal always slow plant spreading speed, and that the speed slows monotonically as herbivore pressure increases. However, we also find that plant spreading speed can be hump shaped with respect to herbivore pressure: plants spread faster in the presence of herbivores (for low herbivore pressure) and then slower (for high herbivore pressure). This result is robust, occurring across all syndromes in which herbivores have a positive effect on plant dispersal, and is a sign that the positive effects of herbivores on dispersal can outweigh their negative effects on demography. For all syndromes we find that sufficiently high herbivore pressure results in population collapse. Thus, our findings show that herbivores can speed up or slow down plant spread. These insights allow for a greater understanding of how to slow invasions, facilitate native species recolonization, and shape range shifts with global change.

     
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  4. Abstract

    Research has conclusively demonstrated the potential for dispersal evolution in range expansions and shifts, however the degree of dispersal evolution observed has varied substantially among organisms. Further, it is unknown how the factors influencing dispersal evolution might impact other ecological processes at play. We use an individual-based model to investigate the effects of the underlying genetics of dispersal and mode of reproduction in range expansions and shifts. Consistent with predictions from stationary populations, dispersal evolution increases with sexual reproduction and loci number. Contrary to our predictions, however, increased dispersal does not always improve a population’s ability to track changing conditions. The mate finding Allee effect inherent to sexual reproduction increases extinction risk during range shifts, counteracting the beneficial effect of increased dispersal evolution. Our results demonstrate the importance of considering both ecological and evolutionary processes for understanding range expansions and shifts.

     
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  5. Barbarossa, Maria Vittoria (Ed.)
    Human behavior (movement, social contacts) plays a central role in the spread of pathogens like SARS-CoV-2. The rapid spread of SARS-CoV-2 was driven by global human movement, and initial lockdown measures aimed to localize movement and contact in order to slow spread. Thus, movement and contact patterns need to be explicitly considered when making reopening decisions, especially regarding return to work. Here, as a case study, we consider the initial stages of resuming research at a large research university, using approaches from movement ecology and contact network epidemiology. First, we develop a dynamical pathogen model describing movement between home and work; we show that limiting social contact, via reduced people or reduced time in the workplace are fairly equivalent strategies to slow pathogen spread. Second, we develop a model based on spatial contact patterns within a specific office and lab building on campus; we show that restricting on-campus activities to labs (rather than labs and offices) could dramatically alter (modularize) contact network structure and thus, potentially reduce pathogen spread by providing a workplace mechanism to reduce contact. Here we argue that explicitly accounting for human movement and contact behavior in the workplace can provide additional strategies to slow pathogen spread that can be used in conjunction with ongoing public health efforts. 
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