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External morphology explains the success of biological invasions

AuthorsAzzurro, Ernesto ; Tuset, Víctor M. ; Lombarte, Antoni ; Maynou, Francesc ; Simberloff, Daniel; Rodríguez-Pérez, Ana; Solé, Ricard V.
KeywordsLimiting similarity
Lessepsian fish
Geometric morphology
Biological invasions
Mediterranean Sea
Species coexistence
Morphological niche
Issue DateNov-2014
PublisherJohn Wiley & Sons
CitationEcology Letters 17(11): 1455-1463 (2014)
AbstractBiological invasions have become major players in the current biodiversity crisis, but realistic tools to predict which species will establish successful populations are still unavailable. Here we present a novel approach that requires only a morphometric characterisation of the species. Using fish invasions of the Mediterranean, we show that the abundance of non-indigenous fishes correlates with the location and relative size of occupied morphological space within the receiving pool of species. Those invaders that established abundant populations tended to be added outside or at the margins of the receiving morphospace, whereas non-indigenous species morphologically similar to resident ones failed to develop large populations or even to establish themselves, probably because the available ecological niches were already occupied. Accepting that morphology is a proxy for a species' ecological position in a community, our findings are consistent with ideas advanced since Darwin's naturalisation hypothesis and provide a new warning signal to identify invaders and to recognise vulnerable communities. © 2014 John Wiley & Sons Ltd/CNRS
Description9 pages, 2 figures, 2 tables, additional supporting information may be downloaded via the online version of this article at http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/ele.12351/suppinfo
Publisher version (URL)http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/ele.12351
Identifiersdoi: 10.1111/ele.12351
issn: 1461-023X,
e-issn: 1461-0248
Appears in Collections:(ICM) Artículos
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