Thursday, 27 August 2015

Invasion Hotspots

The latest review for F1000 by Mark Lonsdale and myself, on F1000 here
(yes, I am still doing those!!  But I rarely get time to post on the blog!)

Review of:

Modelling Hotspots for Invasive Alien Plants in India. by D Adhikari, R Tiwary and SK Barik
PLoS ONE 2015; 10(7):e0134665

Risk assessment for invasive species in the past has tended to focus mainly on species’ attributes, rather than the role of the invaded ecosystem. This paper explores the concept of invasion hotspots - regions that are potentially vulnerable to invasion - using a large set of open access species distribution datasets available from the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF). A novel aspect of their approach is that they don’t simply take into account the climatic niche, they also consider human ‘influences’ known to facilitate invasion processes by delineating ‘anthropogenic biomes’. Where climatic suitability combines with vulnerable ecoregions and anthropogenic biomes, this is considered a ‘hotspot’. The authors find that biodiversity hotspots in India are especially vulnerable as invasion hotspots, an important finding - especially so, as the regional status of invasive species in India has been comparatively little studied. It also illustrates the value for ecological science of mining open access biodiversity data. It would, however, have been useful to see scale factors explored a little more; for example, many invasion hotspots the authors identify are actually in protected areas, though these are presumably within anthropogenic biomes.

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