Year of selection 2014
Institution University College London
Country United Kingdom
Climate change can enhance invasion processes, from initial introduction through establishment and spread and consequently have a profound influence on the environment. In addition, human activities such as land degradation and agricultural systems, lead to the spread of many invasive species. Consequently, biological invasions could become the greatest threats to biodiversity over the next several decades. These biological invasions lead to negative impacts such as reduced crop productivity, altered fire regimes, and loss of ecosystem services like purification of air and water. To date, a significant number of studies have investigated potential direct impacts of climate or land use changes focusing on specie-level responses. Such studies mainly focused on single species, yet the identification of situations associated with high risks of invasions requires mainly the analysis of a large number of species simultaneously. Moreover, we know that some history life traits of species are more likely to be related to invasiveness, yet it has not been considered in models to evaluate future risk of biological invasions following climate and land use changes. The main objective of this project is to develop riskbased models of future biological invasions around the world following climate and land use changes for two well known groups: plants and mammals. To this aim, I proposed to (i) investigate the characteristics that are related to current invasive alien species, (ii) determine the land use/cover types vulnerable to biological invasions, and (iii) develop species distribution models taking into account characteristics of invasive species and land use vulnerability. Specifically, I will use statistical analyses to identify the intrinsic characteristics related to invasions and species distribution models to evaluate the effects of climate and land use changes on biological invasions. I will identify the future high-risk regions exposed to biological invasions where early warning detection and control programs are critical to implement. I will also determine alien species that are likely to become invasive and deserve particular attention to mitigate the ecological and economical impacts of invasions in the future. The proposed project is directly relevant to ecological, economical and societal vulnerabilities in the context of global changes.
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