Characterizing the environmental drivers of the abundance and distribution of Alopecurus myosuroides at a national scale

Hicks, H. ORCID: 0000-0003-1325-2293, Lambert, J., Pywell, R., Hulmes, L., Hulmes, S., Walker, K., Childs, D.Z. and Freckleton, R.P., 2021. Characterizing the environmental drivers of the abundance and distribution of Alopecurus myosuroides at a national scale. Pest Management Science. ISSN 1526-498X

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Abstract

BACKGROUND
Arable weeds threaten farming and food production, impacting on productivity. Large‐scale data on weed populations are typically lacking and changes are frequently undocumented until they reach problem levels. Managing the future spread of weeds requires that we understand the factors that influence current densities and distributions. In doing so, one of the challenges is to measure populations at a large enough scale in order to be able to accurately measure changes in densities and distributions. Here we analyse the density and distribution of a major weed (Alopecurus myosuroides) at a large scale. Our objectives were to: (i) develop a methodology for rapid measurement of occurrence and abundance; (ii) test hypotheses about the roles of soils and climate variation in determining densities; (iii) use this information to identify areas in which occurrence could increase in the future.

RESULTS
Populations were mapped through England over four years in 4631 locations. We also analysed UK atlas data published over the past 50 years. Densities of populations show significant inter‐annual variability, however historical data show that the species has spread. We find significant impacts of soil and rainfall on densities, which increase with the proportion of heavy soils, however, decrease with increasing rainfall. Compared with independent atlas data we find that our statistical models provide good predictions of large‐scale occupancy and we provide maps of current and potential densities.

CONCLUSION
Models of spread highlight the localised nature of colonisation, and this emphasises the need for management to limit dispersal. Comparisons of current, historical and potential distributions suggest sizeable habitable areas in which increases in abundance are still possible.

Item Type: Journal article
Publication Title: Pest Management Science
Creators: Hicks, H., Lambert, J., Pywell, R., Hulmes, L., Hulmes, S., Walker, K., Childs, D.Z. and Freckleton, R.P.
Publisher: Wiley
Date: 26 January 2021
ISSN: 1526-498X
Identifiers:
NumberType
10.1002/ps.6301DOI
1407508Other
Divisions: Schools > School of Animal, Rural and Environmental Sciences
Record created by: Jeremy Silvester
Date Added: 12 Feb 2021 15:42
Last Modified: 12 Feb 2021 15:42
URI: http://irep.ntu.ac.uk/id/eprint/42293

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