Skip to content

Research at St Andrews

Integrating demographic data and a mechanistic dispersal model to predict invasion spread of Rhododendron ponticum in different habitats

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Catriona M Harris, Harriet L Stanford, Colin Edwards, Justin MJ Travis, Kirsty J Park

School/Research organisations


The factors underlying the invasiveness of non-native plants species and the invasibility of habitats in non-native ranges have been investigated in a number of studies. However, there are few examples where invasion potential across a range of key, vulnerable habitats within the non-native range has been compared for a single problematic species. Understanding the invasion potential of a species in different habitat types is crucial in prioritising management and control efforts, and in the protection of vulnerable habitats through monitoring. Here, using the invasive shrub Rhododendron ponticum as a case study, we integrate information on both the demographics and spatial dynamics within an individual-based, spatially-explicit model to investigate invasion potential in different habitats. Firstly, empirical demographic data were used to establish relationships between demographic traits, such as height and fecundity, and habitat variables. The outputs from models fitted using a Generalised Linear Model approach were then incorporated into an individual-based simulation model of plant spread to investigate the invasion potential in different habitats using a factorial design of treatments. Plant height, and thus seed release height, was found to be the main driver of invasion speed through an increase in dispersal potential, which resulted in the highest invasion speeds predicted for evergreen woodlands, and relatively low speeds for open habitats. Conversely, invasion density was driven by plant fecundity and seedling survival and not dispersal potential, which resulted in the highest invasion densities predicted for open habitats, and relatively low densities for evergreen habitats. Deciduous woodland had features that resulted in intermediate invasion potential, both in terms of speed and density and may, therefore be the habitat that is most vulnerable to rapid and dense invasion.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)187-195
Number of pages9
JournalEcological Informatics
Publication statusPublished - 2011

Discover related content
Find related publications, people, projects and more using interactive charts.

View graph of relations

Related by author

  1. Behavioral responses of individual blue whales (Balaenoptera musculus) to mid-frequency military sonar

    Southall, B., DeRuiter, S., Friedlaender, A., Stimpert, A., Goldbogen, J., Hazen, E., Casey, C., Fregosi, S., Cade, D., Allen, A., Harris, C. M., Schorr, G., Moretti, D., Guan, S. & Calambokidis, J., Mar 2019, In : Journal of Experimental Biology. 222, 15 p., jeb190637.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  2. Marine mammals and sonar: dose-response studies, the risk-disturbance hypothesis and the role of exposure context

    Harris, C. M., Thomas, L., Falcone, E., Hildebrand, J., Houser, D., Kvadsheim, P., Lam, F-P. A., Miller, P., Moretti, D. J., Read, A., Slabbekoorn, H., Southall, B. L., Tyack, P. L., Wartzok, D. & Janik, V. M., Jan 2018, In : Journal of Applied Ecology. 55, 1, p. 396-404

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

  3. Individual, ecological, and anthropogenic influences on activity budgets of long-finned pilot whales

    Isojunno, S., Sadykova, D., DeRuiter, S., Curé, C., Visser, F., Thomas, L., Miller, P. J. O. & Harris, C. M., Dec 2017, In : Ecosphere. 8, 12, 26 p., e02044.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  4. A simulation approach to assessing environmental risk of sound exposure to marine mammals

    Donovan, C. R., Harris, C. M., Milazzo, L., Harwood, J., Marshall, L. & Williams, R., Apr 2017, In : Ecology and Evolution. 7, 7, p. 2101-2111 11 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  5. Naval sonar disrupts foraging behaviour in humpback whales

    Sivle, L. D., Wensveen, P. J., Kvadsheim, P., Lam, F-P. A., Visser, F., Cure, C., Harris, C. M., Tyack, P. L. & Miller, P., 29 Dec 2016, In : Marine Ecology Progress Series. 562, p. 211-220

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Related by journal

  1. Management of acoustic metadata for bioacoustics

    Roch, M., Batchelor, H., Baumann-Pickering, S., Berchok, C., Cholewiak, D., Fujioka, E., Garland, E. C., Herbert, S., Hildebrand, J., Oleson, E., Van Parijs, S., Risch, D., Širović, A. & Soldevilla, M., Jan 2016, In : Ecological Informatics. 31, p. 122-136 15 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  2. Modelling spatial distributions of alpine vegetation: a graph theory approach to delineate ecologically-consistent species assemblages

    Mikolajczak, A., Maréchal, D., Sanz, T., Isenmann, M., Thierion, V. & Luque, S., 2015, In : Ecological Informatics. In press

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  3. Hierarchical Bayesian models in ecology: Reconstructing species interaction networks from non-homogeneous species abundance data

    Aderhold, A., Husmeier, D., Lennon, J. J., Beale, C. M. & Smith, V. A., 2012, In : Ecological Informatics. 11, p. 55-64

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  4. Invasive species control: Incorporating demographic data and seed dispersal into a management model for Rhododendron ponticum

    Harris, C. M., Park, K. J., Atkinson, R., Edwards, C. & Travis, J. M. J., Sep 2009, In : Ecological Informatics. 4, 4, p. 226-233

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

ID: 3383932