Ecology of emerald ash borer spread in Maritime Canada

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University of New Brunswick


Only a small fraction of introduced species become established and invasive in new habitats, necessitating an increased understanding of the ecology of species establishment. The Allee effect is an ecological phenomenon characterized by a positive correlation between population density and per-capita population growth rate in a population and is important in the establishment success of invasive species. My thesis examines the establishment dynamics of emerald ash borer (Agrilus planipennis Fairmaire) by analyzing establishment characteristics in models using sensitivity analyses and empirically measuring Allee effects early during establishment. We found that the Allee effect threshold, the number of introductions required for establishment, provided the greatest variation in establishment models and that empirical measures of mating success revealed no evidence for strong mate-finding Allee effects. These findings highlight important characteristics in establishment models of invasive species and underscore the importance of understanding emerald ash borer Allee effects to increase risk model accuracy.