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Open Access Thesis
Master of Science (M.S.)
Year Degree Awarded
Month Degree Awarded
Biases in invasion science lead to a taxonomic focus on plants, particularly a subset of well-studied plants, and a geographic focus on invasions in Europe and North America. Geographic biases could also cause some branches of invasion science to focus on a subset of environmental conditions in the invaded range, potentially leading to an incomplete understanding of the ecology and management of plant invasions. While broader, country-level geographic biases are well known, it is unclear whether these biases extend to a finer scale and thus affect research within the invaded range. This study assessed whether research sites for ten well-studied invasive plants in the U.S. are geographically biased relative to each species’ invaded range. We compared the distribution, climate, and land uses of research sites for 735 scientific articles to manager records from EDDMapS and iMap Invasives representing the invaded range. We attributed each study to one of five types: impact, invasive trait, mapping, management, and recipient community traits. While the number of research sites was much smaller than the number of manager records, they generally encompassed similar geographies. However, research sites tended to skew towards species’ warm range margins, indicating that researchers have knowledge on how these plants might behave in a warming climate. For all but one species, at least one study type encompassed a significantly different climate space from manager records, suggesting that some level of climatic bias is common. Impact and management studies occurred within the same climate space for all species, suggesting that these studies focus on similar areas – likely those with the greatest impacts and management needs. Manager records were more likely to be found near roads, which are both habitats and vectors for invasive plants, and on public land. Research sites were more likely to be found near a college or university. Studies on these plants largely occur across their invaded range, however, different study types occur within a narrower climate range. This clustering can create gaps in our general understanding of how these plants interact with different environments, which can have important policy and management consequences.
Munro, Lara, "Does Invasion Science Encompass the Invaded Range? A Comparison of the Geographies of Invasion Science Versus Management in the U.S." (2020). Masters Theses. 978.