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Byers, J. E., Smith, R. S., Pringle, J. M., Clark, G. F., Gribben, P. E., Hewitt, C. L., … Bishop, M. J. (2015). Invasion Expansion: Time since introduction best predicts global ranges of marine invaders. Scientific Reports, 5. http://doi.org/10.1038/srep12436
Permanent Research Commons link: http://hdl.handle.net/10289/9554
Strategies for managing biological invasions are often based on the premise that characteristics of invading species and the invaded environment are key predictors of the invader's distribution. Yet, for either biological traits or environmental characteristics to explain distribution, adequate time must have elapsed for species to spread to all potential habitats. We compiled and analyzed a database of natural history and ecological traits of 138 coastal marine invertebrate species, the environmental conditions at sites to which they have been introduced, and their date of first introduction. We found that time since introduction explained the largest fraction (20%) of the variability in non-native range size, while traits of the species and environmental variables had significant, but minimal, influence on non-native range size. The positive relationship between time since introduction and range size indicates that non-native marine invertebrate species are not at equilibrium and are still spreading, posing a major challenge for management of coastal ecosystems.
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