In recent years there has been a growing interest in the use of functional responses (FRs) as a tool in invasion
ecology. Therefore to coincide with the gathering of a number of key scientists for the Annual Research Meeting of the Centre for
Invasion Biology (C·I·B), a workshop was held that focussed on the current applications of FRs and their future use in
understanding, determining and predicting impact of non-native species.
The workshop, supported by the C·I·B and organised by visiting C·I·B research fellows James
Vonesh (Virginia Commonwealth University) and Mike McCoy (East Carolina University), former C·I·B postdoc Mhairi Alexander
(University of the West of Scotland) and C·I·B senior researcher John Measey, was held on the 9th-10th
November at Stellenbosch University. The workshop was attended by a total of 25 delegates that comprised national and international
academics and researchers from the field of invasion biology. A range of aquatic and terrestrial systems were represented with expertise
in empirical and theoretical aspects of the FR approach.
With biological invasions occurring at an ever increasing rate, effective and robust measures to better understand
processes and inform management are required and the use of FRs has been shown as a useful tool in this regard. As methodologies are
progressing rapidly it was an excellent time for synthesis, and, discussions were held under three main themes: (1) foundations of
functional responses and their current use in invasion biology; (2) how species traits influence functional responses; (3) extending the
framework to populations and communities.
The ensuing discussions were very productive with a number of outputs identified that would help synthesise the
pre-existing literature and provide a base for moving the field forward. Furthermore the interaction of researchers at the workshop with
common interests in FRs has set the stage for development of ideas and international collaborations moving into the future.
Delegates who attended the workshop "Functional responses as a tool in invasion ecology: current
applications and future directions" on the 9th and 10th November 2015.