Evol Ecol Res 5: 1011-1021 (2003)     Full PDF if your library subscribes.

A comparative analysis of the relative success of introduced land birds on islands

Phillip Cassey*

Laboratoire d’Ecologie, Ecole Normale Supérieure, 46 rue d’Ulm, 75230 Paris cedex 05, France

e-mail: cassey@biologie.ens.fr


It has been suggested that more species have been successfully introduced to oceanic islands than to mainland regions. This suggestion has attracted considerable ecological interest and several theoretical mechanisms have been proposed. However, few data are available to test the hypotheses directly, and the pattern may simply result from many more species being transported to islands rather than mainland regions. Here I test this idea using data for global land birds and present evidence that introductions to islands have a higher probability of success than those to mainland regions. This difference between island and mainland landforms is not consistent among either taxonomic families or biogeographic regions. Instead, introduction attempts within the same biogeographic region have been significantly more successful than those that have occurred between two different biogeographic regions. Subsequently, the proportion of introduction attempts that have occurred within a single biogeographic region is thus a significant predictor of the observed variability in introduction success. I also show that the correlates of successful island introductions are probably different to those of successful mainland introductions.

Keywords: biogeographic regions, introduction success, islands, land birds, mainland continents.

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