Concern over the impact of invaders on biodiversity and on the functioning of ecosystems has generated a rising tide of comparative analyses aiming to unveil the factors that shape the success of introduced species across different regions. One limitation of these studies is that they often compare geographically rather than ecologically defined regions. We propose an approach that can help address this limitation: comparison of invasions across convergent ecosystems that share similar climates. We compared avian invasions in five convergent mediterranean climate systems around the globe. Based on a database of 180 introductions representing 121 avian species, we found that the proportion of bird species successfully established was high in all mediterranean systems (more than 40% for all five regions). Species differed in their likelihood to become established, although success was not higher for those originating from mediterranean systems than for those from nonmediterranean regions. Controlling for this taxonomic effect with generalized linear mixed models, species introduced into mediterranean islands did not show higher establishment success than those introduced to the mainland. Susceptibility to avian invaders, however, differed substantially among the different mediterranean regions. The probability that a species will become established was highest in the Mediterranean Basin and lowest in mediterranean Australia and the South African Cape. Our results suggest that many of the birds recently introduced into mediterranean systems, and especially into the Mediterranean Basin, have a high potential to establish self-sustaining populations. This finding has important implications for conservation in these biologically diverse hotspots. ©2005 Society for Conservation Biology.
|Publication status||Published - 1 Oct 2005|
- Biological invasions
- Introduced species
- Mediterranean-climate systems