Normally I run around ESA looking for talks that have the best potential to inform or entertain me. This time around I decided to go to a session on invasions and communities and settle in for the long haul. Am I glad I did. I was afraid the session would be dominated by similar sounding talks, but instead each talk was wildly interesting and different. Talks included looking at the genetic variability of the dominant native resident as a proxy for niche preemption. Another good one looked at the role of propagule pressure for an understory invasion into tropical dry forests -I seldomly hear about invasions into these ecosystems. Next was a look at how invaders behave over long term successional trajectories and they by and large appear to follow native trends. Next was a great modeling talk where individual-based models and riverine networks were used to assess the role of distrubance and trait differences in invasion dynamics. The final one I saw was on how to potentially restore Californian serpetine plant communities using little more that gravel and a few chemicals, with the goal of reintroducing extirpated butterflies, which have not been able to cope with the shift to exotic-dominated grasslands.
I am looking forward to more great talks!