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Rates of species introduction to a remote oceanic island

Gaston, K.J., Jones, A.G., Hänel, C. and Chown, S.L. (2003) Rates of species introduction to a remote oceanic island. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 270 (1519). pp. 1091-1098. ISSN 1471-2954


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The introduction of species to areas beyond the limits of their natural distributions has a major homogenizing influence, making previously distinct biotas more similar. The scale of introductions has frequently been commented on, but their rate and spatial pervasiveness have been less well quantified. Here, we report the findings of a detailed study of pterygote insect introductions to Gough Island, one of the most remote and supposedly pristine temperate oceanic islands, and estimate the rate at which introduced species have successfully established.

Out of 99 species recorded from Gough Island, 71 are established introductions, the highest proportion documented for any Southern Ocean island. Estimating a total of approximately 233 landings on Gough Island since first human landfall, this equates to one successful establishment for every three to four landings. Generalizations drawn from other areas suggest that this may be only one-tenth of the number of pterygote species that have arrived at the island, implying that most landings may lead to the arrival of at least one alien. These rates of introduction of new species are estimated to be two to three orders of magnitude greater than background levels for Gough Island, an increase comparable to that estimated for global species extinctions (many of which occur on islands) as a consequence of human activities.

Item Type: Article
Copyright, Publisher and Additional Information: © Royal Society, 2003. Reproduced in accordance with the publisher's self-archiving policy.
Keywords: alien species, Gough Island, homogenization, introductions, island biogeography, Southern Ocean
Institution: The University of Sheffield
Academic Units: The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Science (Sheffield) > School of Biological Sciences (Sheffield) > Department of Animal and Plant Sciences (Sheffield)
Depositing User: Repository Assistant
Date Deposited: 27 Jun 2006
Last Modified: 06 Jun 2014 06:53
Published Version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rspb.2003.2332
Status: Published
Publisher: The Royal Society
Refereed: Yes
Identification Number: 10.1098/rspb.2003.2332
URI: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/1346

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