The biology of small, introduced populations, with special reference to biological control
Article first published online: 11 JUN 2012
© 2012 The Authors. Evolutionary Applications published by Blackwell Publishing Ltd.
This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited and is not used for commercial purposes.
Special Issue: Evolution and Biological Control
Volume 5, Issue 5, pages 424–443, July 2012
How to Cite
Fauvergue, X., Vercken, E., Malausa, T. and Hufbauer, R. A. (2012), The biology of small, introduced populations, with special reference to biological control. Evolutionary Applications, 5: 424–443. doi: 10.1111/j.1752-4571.2012.00272.x
- Issue published online: 10 JUL 2012
- Article first published online: 11 JUN 2012
- Manuscript Accepted: 1 MAY 2012
- Manuscript Received: 18 APR 2012
- Agence Nationale de la Recherche
- ANR. Grant Number: 2010
- BLAN. Grant Number: 1717
- Fondation pour la Recherche sur la Biodiversité
- National Science Foundation. Grant Numbers: 0541673, 0949619
- Allee effect;
- biological invasions;
- classical biological control;
- demographic and environmental stochasticity;
- genetic drift;
- genetic × demographic interactions;
Populations are introduced into novel environments in different contexts, one being the biological control of pests. Despite intense efforts, less than half introduced biological control agents establish. Among the possible approaches to improve biological control, one is to better understand the processes that underpin introductions and contribute to ecological and evolutionary success. In this perspective, we first review the demographic and genetic processes at play in small populations, be they stochastic or deterministic. We discuss the theoretical outcomes of these different processes with respect to individual fitness, population growth rate, and establishment probability. Predicted outcomes differ subtly in some cases, but enough so that the evaluating results of introductions have the potential to reveal which processes play important roles in introduced populations. Second, we attempt to link the theory we have discussed with empirical data from biological control introductions. A main result is that there are few available data, but we nonetheless report on an increasing number of well-designed, theory-driven, experimental approaches. Combining demography and genetics from both theoretical and empirical perspectives highlights novel and exciting avenues for research on the biology of small, introduced populations, and great potential for improving both our understanding and practice of biological control.