Comparing determinants of alien bird impacts across two continents: implications for risk assessment and management

With the support of the Global Invasions Research Coordination Network, Tom Evans traveled to Stellenbosch University in South Africa, to prepare a manuscript with Dr. Sabrina Kumschick at the Centre for Invasion Biology.

The manuscript compared the results of two studies undertaken in Europe and Australia to establish whether there are any life history traits consistently correlated with the impacts of alien birds across two continents, Europe and Australia, in order to determine whether such life history traits have the potential to be adopted as universal predictors of alien bird impacts.

A recently established impact scoring system was used in combination with a literature review to allocate impact scores to alien bird species with self-sustaining populations in Australia. These scores were then tested for correlation with a series of life history traits. The results were compared to data from a previous study in Europe, undertaken using the same methodology, in order to establish whether there are any life history traits consistently correlated with impact across both continents.

Habitat generalism was the only life history trait found to be consistently correlated with impact in both Europe and Australia. This trait shows promise as a general predictor of alien bird impacts. The results support the findings of previous studies in this field, and could be used to inform decisions regarding the prevention and management of future invasions.