Diversity, invasive species and extinctions in insular ecosystems
Article first published online: 4 JUN 2008
© 2008 The Authors. Journal compilation © 2008 British Ecological Society
Journal of Applied Ecology
Volume 45, Issue 4, pages 1114–1123, August 2008
How to Cite
Donlan, C. J. and Wilcox, C. (2008), Diversity, invasive species and extinctions in insular ecosystems. Journal of Applied Ecology, 45: 1114–1123. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2664.2008.01482.x
- Issue published online: 9 JUL 2008
- Article first published online: 4 JUN 2008
- Received 29 November 2007; accepted 3 March 2008; Handling Editor: Yvonne Buckley
- conservation prioritization;
- Baja California;
- endangered species;
- Felis catus;
- Gulf of California;
- introduced species;
- small mammals
- 1Species invasions are a primary driver of species additions and deletions in ecosystems. Understanding the intricacies of invasions and their consequences is central to ecology and biodiversity conservation. Extinctions are rarely random and often are influenced by a suite of factors.
- 2We explored abiotic and biotic factors that correlate with and help to provide proximate explanations for insular extinctions driven by invasive predators on islands off western Mexico.
- 3A number of factors that were hypothesized a priori to explain the observed extinction patterns performed better than island size alone. Alternative prey available to invasive predators was negatively correlated with extinction, with twice the number of alternative prey species present on extinction-free islands compared to islands with extinctions. Carrying capacity estimates of extant populations were 27 times that of extinct populations.
- 4An aggregate model that included alternative prey, carrying capacity, and seasonal precipitation was the best performing model. Those factors, which are supported by theory and empirical evidence, are informative to conservation decision-makers.
- 5Synthesis and applications. Islands with small native mammals and no, or few, alternative prey species available to invasive predators should be prioritized for eradication. By focusing regionally on a specific threat, we provide a framework to practitioners that aids in prioritizing invasive predator eradications to halt insular extinctions.