Are there any consistent predictors of invasion success?
This article summarises the results of 49 studies that together test the significance of 115 characteristics in 7 biological groups: birds, finfish, insects, mammals, plants, reptiles/amphibians and shellfish. Climate/habitat match, history of invasive success and number of arriving/released individuals are associated with establishment success in at least four independent data sets, both within and across biological groups, and none are contraindicated by other studies. In the introduced-invasive control group, two species level characteristics—taxon and geographic range size—were significantly associated with establishment success across two biological groups. These characteristics, however, were not supported by independent data sets, or were contraindicated by these data sets, within the biological groups examined here. In the introduced-native control group, three species level characteristics—geographic range size, leaf surface area and fertilisation system (monoecious, hermaphroditic or dioecious)—were consistently supported within plants but were either not supported by independent data sets or contraindicated by datasets within or across other biological groups. Climate/habitat match is the only characteristic that is consistently significantly associated with invasive behaviour (in this case exotic range size) across biological groups. This finding, however, is not supported by two or more independent data sets within any of the biological groups examined here. Within plants there are a suite of characteristics, predominately associated with reproduction, that are significantly associated with a range of invasion metrics, predominately abundance in the invaded range. None of these characteristics, however, are supported across any other biological groups. We note the confounding effects of phylogeny, residence time and propagule pressure and suggest that site- and taxa-specific analysis will provide further useful insights.