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Combining trade data and niche modelling improves predictions of the origin and distribution of non‐native European populations of a globally invasive species

Cardador, Laura, Carrete, Martina, Gallardo, Belinda, Tella, José L.
Journal of biogeography 2016 v.43 no.5 pp. 967-978
colonizing ability, geographical variation, international trade, invasive species, models, niches, parakeets, prediction, provenance, risk, Africa, Asia, Europe
AIM: Although propagule pressure and environmental constraints are among the most important factors determining invasion success, studies considering both factors simultaneously are scarce. Moreover, while recent evidence suggests that the environmental requirements of individuals from different geographical ranges may be different, the role of propagule origin in invasions has been largely overlooked. Our aim was to disentangle the relative role of niche requirements, propagule origin and propagule pressure on the distribution of an invasive bird species. LOCATION: Europe, Asia and Africa. METHODS: We used species distribution models, niche and deviance partitioning analyses to investigate the relative roles of propagule pressure (international trade), origin of individuals (Asian or African), and environmental constraints in determining the distribution of invasive ring‐necked parakeets across 25 European countries. RESULTS: Differences between niches of native Asian and African parakeets were found, with the Asian niche matching the European niche more closely. In the invasive European range, distribution of parakeets was mainly explained by the pure effect of year of first importation (as a proxy of time since first introduction), the pure effect of geographical origin of propagules and the joint effect of environmental suitability and year of first importation, but not by overall propagule pressure. Only when taking into account the fraction of individuals whose native niche fitted better the European conditions – Asian parakeets – was the role of propagule pressure highlighted by models. MAIN CONCLUSIONS: While environmental‐based predictions calibrated on native ranges can constitute a useful first‐screening tool, incorporating information about propagule pressure and especially about the variability in its geographical origin may result in a much more thorough assessment of invasion risk. Trade data reveal as a valuable proxy of propagule origin and pressure that can be combined with niche modelling for predicting the fate of trade‐mediated invasions in a variety of organisms.