Invasive Species Affect Native Species

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Will introduction of invasive species affect native species? Yes, the introduction would lead to the decline of native ones as revealed by a study by a group of scientists from the CNRS and the University of Paris-Saclay.

They said that 11 per cent of the phylogenetic diversity of birds and mammals (their accumulated evolutionary history) across the world is threatened by biological invasions. In the study published in Global Change Biology, the researchers said that the ability of the species to adapt to environmental changes could be largely lost due to biological invasions.

The researchers maintained that Globalisation led to an increase in the introduction of species outside their natural distribution zone. They said that introduction of invasive species led to a decline in certain local ones. They also maintained that biological invasions represent one of the most important drivers of biodiversity loss on a global scale and the primary driver in island regions. In the study, the researchers said that invasive species have a greater impact on the ecological strategies of native species Biological invasions threaten 40 per cent of the diversity of ecological strategies of birds and 14 per cent of that of mammals.

The researchers claimed that a group birds are particularly vulnerable to invasions. Indeed, many birds, particularly from oceanic island regions, are less able than their continental counterparts to adapt their strategies to more generalist invasive species. They also gave the example of kagu, an emblematic species of New Caledonia. It is unique from a phylogenetic as it is the only representative of the Rhynochetidae family and is threatened in particular by the rat. This bird does not fly and feeds only on the ground. It is therefore unable to adapt to a new land predator such as the rat. Other bird species, including pollinators and seed dispersers, are also at risk from biological invasions. The disappearance of these species would therefore have consequences for the functioning of the ecosystem.

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