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David Holway


Research in our lab is currently divided into two areas:

Biological invasions

The introduction of species into new environments has increasingly become an economically costly and environmentally disruptive phenomenon. Our research on invasions focuses on social insects (ants, bees and wasps) and primarily encompasses the following questions. (i) What factors control susceptibility to invasion? (ii) What accounts for how invasion impacts change in magnitude over time? (iii) Why do native species assemblages differ in their ability to recover following experimental invader removal?

Pollination services

Declining pollinator populations threaten to compromise the integrity of pollination services in both agricultural and non-managed systems. Our research addresses this general issue from the following perspectives. (i) To what degree does land-use intensification affect pollinator assemblages? (ii) To what extent do pollinator declines compromise pollination services? (iii) How do non-native species interact with native pollinators, and when do these interactions negatively impact pollination services?

Select Publications

  • Gambel, J. & D.A. Holway. 2023. Divergent responses of generalist and specialist pollinators to experimental drought: outcomes for plant reproduction. Ecology 104:e4111.
  • Baratelli, E., I. Naughton, A.V. Suarez, C.V. Tillberg, S.B. Menke & D.A. Holway. 2023. Variation in Argentine Ant trophic position in relation to time since invasion. Biological Invasions 25:133-140.
  • Etter, K.J, G. Junquera, J. Horvet, R. Alarcon, K.-L.J. Hung & D.A. Holway. 2022. Interspecific pollen transport between non-native fennel and an island endemic buckwheat: assessment of the magnet effect. Biological Invasions 24:139-155.
  • Holway, D.A. & E.K. Cameron. 2021. The importance of scavenging in ant invasions. Current Opinion in Insect Science 46:39-42
  • Achury R, Holway DA, Suarez AV. 2021. Pervasive and persistent effects of invasion and fragmentation on native ant assemblages. Ecology e03257.
  • Clifton, G.T., D.A. Holway & N. Gravish. 2020. Vision does not impact walking performance in Argentine ants. Journal of Experimental Biology 223:jeb228460.
  • Menke, S.B. & D.A. Holway. 2020. Historical resurvey indicates no decline in Argentine ant site occupancy in coastal southern California. Biological Invasions 22:1669-1679.
  • Naughton I, C. Boser, N.D. Tsutsui & D.A. Holway. 2020. Direct evidence of native ant displacement by the Argentine ant in island ecosystems. Biological Invasions 22:681-691
  • Hung J., J.M. Kingston, A. Lee, D.A. Holway & J.R. Kohn. 2019. Non-native honey bees disproportionately dominate abundant floral resources in a hotspot of pollinator diversity. Proceedings of the Royal Society B 286:20182901.
  • Hung, J., J.S. Ascher, J.A. Davids & D.A. Holway. 2019. Ecological filtering in scrub fragments shapes the taxonomic and functional structure of native bee assemblages. Ecology 100:e02654.
  • Menke, S.B., P.S. Ward & D.A. Holway. 2018. Long-term record of Argentine ant invasions reveals enduring ecological impacts. Ecology, 99:1194–1202.
  • Hung, J., J.M. Kingston, M. Albrecht, D.A. Holway & J.R. Kohn. 2018. The worldwide importance of honey bees as pollinators in natural habitats. Proceedings of the Royal Society B 285: 20172140.
  • Nabors, A.J., H.J. Cen, K-L.J. Hung, J.R. Kohn & D.A. Holway. 2018. The effect of removing numerically dominant, non-native honey bees on seed set of a native plant. Oecologia 186:281-289.


David Holway received a B.A. in zoology from UC Berkeley and a Ph.D in biology from the University of Utah. He joined the UC San Diego faculty in 2001 and has served as campus director of the UC Natural Reserve System and chair of the section of Ecology, Behavior & Evolution.

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