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Abstract.

Despite several decades of research, the field of invasion ecology has not been very successful in developing reliable generalizations regarding the mechanisms and predictability of invasions. In this essay, we argue that one impediment in the field’s development has been that the field of invasion ecology has largely dissociated itself from other subdisciplines of ecology, particularly succession ecology. Taking an historical approach, we suggest that this dissociation began with Charles S. Elton, the generally acknowledged father of invasion biology. We argue further that, despite periodic calls to end what some have regarded as a spurious distinction between native colonizers and introduced invaders, invasion ecology has continued to pursue its own generalizations with limited success. We suggest this dissociation may be exacerbated further by incentives produced by the realities of publishing and securing funding for research and also by the use of electronic search engines to identify related articles. We offer several examples of how invasion ecology has benefited from research on succession and regeneration conducted on native species and conclude that the field of invasion ecology would do well to do more of this type of communication and collaboration among subdisciplines.