What makes a successful invader?

For invasive species to be successful, the climate in the invaded regions must be at least similar to the native region. However, other factors are also known to play an important role.

Data resources used via GBIF : 381,231 species occurrences

Gypsy Moth (Lymantria dispar), one of the world's worst invaders. Photo by Martin Grimm licensed under CC BY-NC 4.0.

For invasive species to be successful, the climate in the invaded regions must be at least similar to the native region. However, other factors are also known to play an important role. To provide insight into what these factors might be and how they each contribute to successful invasions, researchers did a full investigation of abiotic and socioeconomic parameters for 95 of the world’s worst invasive species. Using occurrences primarily from GBIF, they modelled the distributions of each species, and found that overall, the socioeconomic parameters such as human density and distance to airports play a role for more species than climatic parameters. However, in terms of predicting invasion success, temperature and precipitation are still most important. The authors finally identify Western and Central Europe, Eastern North America, Central America, Eastern Australia, and some Indonesian islands as potential invasion hotspots that should be carefully monitored to prevent new invasions.

Citations

Bellard C, Leroy B, Thuiller W, Rysman J-F and Courchamp F (2016) Major drivers of invasion risks throughout the world. Ecosphere. Wiley-Blackwell 7(3): e01241. Available at doi:10.1002/ecs2.1241.

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