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Five Potential Consequences of Climate Change for Invasive Species

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Scientific and societal unknowns make it difficult to predict how global environmental changes such as climate change and biological invasions will affect ecological systems. In the long term, these changes may have interacting effects and compound the uncertainty associated with each individual driver. Nonetheless, invasive species are likely to respond in ways that should be qualitatively predictable, and some of these responses will be distinct from those of native counterparts. We used the stages of invasion known as the “invasion pathway” to identify 5 nonexclusive consequences of climate change for invasive species: (1) altered transport and introduction mechanisms, (2) establishment of new invasive species, (3) altered impact of existing invasive species, (4) altered distribution of existing invasive species, and (5) altered effectiveness of control strategies. We then used these consequences to identify testable hypotheses about the responses of invasive species to climate change and provide suggestions for invasive-species management plans. The 5 consequences also emphasize the need for enhanced environmental monitoring and expanded coordination among entities involved in invasive-species management.
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Keywords: cambio climático; climate change; especies invasoras; invasion pathway; invasive species; invasive-species management; manejo de especies invasoras; vía de invasión

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Biological Sciences, University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, IN 46556, U.S.A., Email: [email protected] 2: Department of Zoology, University of New Hampshire, Durham, NH 03824, U.S.A. 3: Global Change Research Program, National Center for Environmental Assessment, Office of Research and Development, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW (MC8601 N), Washington, D.C. 20460, U.S.A. 4: Department of Biology, University of Massachusetts, Boston, MA 02125, U.S.A.

Publication date: June 1, 2008

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