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Distance to native climatic niche margins explains establishment success of alien mammals

Broennimann, O., Petitpierre, B., Chevalier, M., Gonzalez-Suarez, M. ORCID:, Jeschke, J. M., Gray, S. M., Bacher, S. and Guisan, A. (2021) Distance to native climatic niche margins explains establishment success of alien mammals. Nature Communications, 12 (1). 2353. ISSN 2041-1723

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1038/s41467-021-22693-0


One key hypothesis explaining the fate of exotic species introductions posits that the establishment, in the invaded range, of a self-sustaining population can only succeed within conditions matching the native climatic niche. Yet, this hypothesis remains untested for individual release events. Using a dataset of 979 introductions of 173 mammal species worldwide, we show that climate-matching to the realized native climatic niche, measured by a new Niche Margin Index (NMI), is a stronger predictor of establishment success than most previously tested life-history attributes and historical factors. Contrary to traditional climatic suitability metrics derived from species distribution models, NMI is based on niche margins and provides a measure of how distant a site is inside or, importantly, outside the niche. Besides many applications in research in ecology and evolution, NMI as a measure of native climatic niche-matching in risk assessments could improve efforts to prevent invasions and avoid costly eradications.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Life Sciences > School of Biological Sciences > Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
ID Code:97382
Publisher:Nature Publishing Group


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