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Modelling the spread of the invasive alga Codium fragile driven by long-distance dispersal of buoyant propagules Open Access


Author or creator
Peacock, Stephanie J
Additional contributors
Gagnon, Karine
Jin, Yu
Lewis, Mark A
Individual-based model
Invasive algae
Codium fragile
Secondary spread
Type of item
Journal Article (Published)
Eastern Canada
The secondary spread of an invasive species after initial establishment is a major factor in determining its distribution and impacts. Determining and understanding the factors driving this secondary spread is therefore of great importance to manage and predict invasions. In this study we constructed an individual- based model for the spread of the invasive green alga Codium fragile ssp. fragile along a straight coastline, in order to understand the factors governing spreading speed. Codium can spread locally through non-buoyant propagules, while long-distance dispersal depends on the wind-driven dispersal of buoyant fragments. Since fragment buoyancy is determined by light conditions, we first modelled the buoyancy of fragments, yielding a dispersal time dependent on light conditions. We then used this dispersal time, along with empirical wind speeds and directions to calculate a dispersal kernel for fragments. Finally, we incorporated this dispersal kernel into a population growth model including survival rate and fragmentation rate, to calculate a population spreading speed. We found that under current environmental conditions along the east coast of Canada, (the northernmost front of this invasion) further spread towards the northeast is possible but limited (only 4 km yr−1). However, a sensitivity analysis showed that environmental shifts associated with climate change, such as more variable winds and increased disturbances that cause fragmentation, have the potential to increase spreading speed and particularly northward spread.
Date created
October 21, 2015
License information
Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 4.0 International

Citation for previous publication
Gagnon, K., Peacock, S.J., Jin, Y., and Lewis, M. a. 2015. Modelling the spread of the invasive alga Codium fragile driven by long-distance dispersal of buoyant propagules. Ecological Modelling 316: 111–121. Elsevier B.V. doi: 10.1016/j.ecolmodel.2015.08.011.

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File title: Gagnonetal-22Jul15
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