Mathematical Models Can Predict the Spread of an Invasive Species

  • John G. AlfordEmail author
Living reference work entry


Invasive species are nonindigenous plants and animals that have the potential to cause great harm to both the environment and native species. If an invasive species is able to survive and spread throughout the environment, there may be large financial losses to the public. Public policy makers and scientists are responsible for developing and funding programs to control and eradicate invasive species. These programs are founded on the science of invasion ecology and the biological characteristics of the invader. Conclusions drawn from mathematical modeling have contributed to this knowledge base. This chapter presents some of the fundamental mathematical models in population ecology that have been used to predict how an invasive species population can grow and disperse after its introduction. These predictions are shown to be consistent with experimental data. The chapter concludes with a brief discussion of how the basic modeling principles and results that are presented here have contributed to developing strategies for control and eradication efforts.


Invasive species Mathematical model Exponential Logistic Allee effect Reaction-diffusion equation 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Mathematics and Statistics HuntsvilleSam Houston State UniversityHuntsvilleUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • Torsten Lindström
    • 1
  • Bharath Sriraman
    • 2
  1. 1.Linneaeus UniversityVäxjöSweden
  2. 2.Department of Mathematical SciencesThe University of MontanaMissoulaUSA

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