A framework for predicting which non-native individuals and species will enter, survive, and exit human-mediated transport

Abstract

Determining which non-natives are likely to be introduced is integral for understanding and predicting biological invasions. However, the hypotheses and research regarding invasive species have largely focused on processes occurring post-introduction. Improving predictions of non-native transport and generating new hypotheses about the drivers of species invasion requires a better understanding of the ‘pre-introduction’ mechanisms that determine whether propagules successfully enter, survive, and exit human vectors. We propose that the subset of non-natives successfully introduced are determined by two primary filtering mechanisms: (1) the characteristics of organisms, and the way in which these characteristics are shaped by and interact with their environment; and (2) the attributes, movement, and behavior of human vectors. We review how species distribution, individual phenotype, environmental conditions, and ecological interactions filter organisms between each pre-introduction stage of non-native transport. Additionally, we apply a modified version of the vector science framework to elucidate mechanisms driving patterns in human movements, which also determine the subset of individuals transported and introduced as non-natives. Our framework distills the human-mediated transport process to its most critical components, providing a simple approach for creating new hypotheses of the drivers of biological invasions.

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Abbreviations

Entrance:

The intentional or unintentional entrance of an organism into or onto a human vector. Encompasses all terminology for this process, such as harvest, collection, capture, entrainment, uptake, or attachment

Exit:

The intentional or unintentional exit of an organism from a human vector or human control. Encompasses all terminology for this process, such as escape, release, deposition, or detachment

Intentional:

The purposeful human-mediated transport and introduction of non-natives (e.g., introductions for biocontrol or game animals). Note that the degree of intention can vary during the introduction process, such as cultivated plants or pets that are intentionally transported but whose release into the wild ‘at-large’ is unintentional

Invasive:

A non-native species with demonstrable ecological or economic effects

Native range:

The evolutionary geographic range of a species (i.e., range extent not established through human-mediated movement)

Non-native:

Species moved outside their native range by human actions

Pathway:

The variety of mechanisms by which non-native species are transported and introduced from one location to another (sensu Hulme et al. 2008)

Route:

The geographic path over which vectors travel

Source:

The specific location or region from which a non-native originates may or may not be the native range

Unintentional:

Non-natives whose human-mediated transport and introduction is entirely accidental (e.g., hitchhiking insects or aquatic organisms trapped in ship ballast)

Vector:

The physical agent by which a non-native individual is transferred

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Acknowledgements

We wish to thank Basil Iannone and all our anonymous reviewers for comments that greatly improved this manuscript. We also acknowledge a Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) Strategic Network Grant to the Canadian Aquatic Invasive Species Network (CAISN) for funding and facilitation (Grant Nos. 388641, 489908). Additional funding was also provided by an NSERC Discovery Grant to SEA and an NSERC Canada Graduate Scholarship to JSS. We would particularly like to thank Marie-Josée Létourneau for producing the artwork for this manuscript.

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Sinclair, J.S., Lockwood, J.L., Hasnain, S. et al. A framework for predicting which non-native individuals and species will enter, survive, and exit human-mediated transport. Biol Invasions 22, 217–231 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10530-019-02086-7

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Keywords

  • Human-mediated transport
  • Vector
  • Invasion
  • Framework
  • Phenotype
  • Propagule pressure