Biological Invasions

, Volume 14, Issue 11, pp 2271–2281 | Cite as

A comparative analysis of the factors promoting deer invasion

Original Paper


Invasive non-native deer can cause negative impacts at ecosystem, community and population levels. Here we aim to determine which characteristics predict success at two stages of the invasion process, establishment and spread, in introduced deer. We collected historical data on the outcomes of introduction events and compiled a dataset of species traits. Characteristics correlated to the success of invasion were identified using linear modelling methods, which control for the non-independence of the introduction events. A phylogenetic tree of the deer was reconstructed using DNA markers in order to control for the effects of common ancestry in species level analyses. At the species level, we found weaning age, age at sexual maturity and native range size are predictive of establishment, whereas weaning body mass is predictive of spread. At the population level we found that establishment success is primarily determined by the number of introduced individuals whereas breadth of habitat and diet determine which of the established populations will spread.


Deer Establishment Generalised estimator equations Invasion Phylogeny Spread 



We thank Rory Putman for his valuable suggestions and comments on the manuscript. Sven Bacher generously provided access to the mammal introduction database, and Simon Reader kindly shared the data on brain masses. We thank William Pearse for his advice on coding in R. Edinburgh and Chester Zoos provided samples for the phylogenetic analysis. Finally, we would like to thank three anonymous reviewers whose comments greatly improved the paper. This study was funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council, the British Deer Society, the Royal Society and the European Research Council.

Supplementary material

10530_2012_228_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (278 kb)
Trait data for introduced deer species (PDF 403 kb)
10530_2012_228_MOESM2_ESM.pdf (106 kb)
Deer introduction data (PDF 106 kb)
10530_2012_228_MOESM3_ESM.pdf (105 kb)
Sources of DNA sequence data used in the phylogenetic analysis (PDF 104 kb)
10530_2012_228_MOESM4_ESM.pdf (149 kb)
Results of GLM and GLMM analyses of establishment at the population level (PDF 148 kb)
10530_2012_228_MOESM5_ESM.pdf (136 kb)
Results of GLM and GEE analyses of establishment at the species level (PDF 136 kb)
10530_2012_228_MOESM6_ESM.pdf (139 kb)
Results of GLM and GLMM analyses of spread at the population level (PDF 139 kb)
10530_2012_228_MOESM7_ESM.pdf (134 kb)
Results of GLM and GEE analyses of spread at the species level (PDF 134 kb)
10530_2012_228_MOESM8_ESM.pdf (37 kb)
Plots of predicted probability of establishment and spread (PDF 188 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Richard Fautley
    • 1
  • Tim Coulson
    • 1
  • Vincent Savolainen
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Division of BiologyImperial College LondonAscot, BerkshireUK
  2. 2.Royal Botanic GardensKewUK

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