The Allee threshold, the critical population density separating growth from decline in populations experiencing strong Allee effects, can vary over space and time but few empirical studies have examined this variation. A lack of geographically extensive, long-term studies on low density population dynamics makes studying variability in Allee effects difficult. We used North American gypsy moth population data from 1996-2016 to quantify Allee thresholds in 11 regions of the invasion front. Allee thresholds spanned a continuum from being undetectable due to strong population growth at all densities, to being unmeasurable because populations declined across all densities. The lag-1 temporal autocorrelation in Allee thresholds tended to be negative and spatial synchrony in Allee thresholds extended no further than adjacent regions. This work furthers understanding of spatiotemporal variation in Allee effects using extensive empirical data at the range edge of an invasive insect.

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Copyright © 2020, Biological Invasions.


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