Long-term trends in abundances of non-native species across biomes, realms, and taxonomic groups in Europe

Phillip J. Haubrock, Francesca Pilotto, Ismael Soto, Ingolf Kühn, Hugo Verreycken, Hanno Seebens, Ross N. Cuthbert, Peter Haase

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Abstract

Rates of biological invasion have increased over recent centuries and are expected to increase in the future. Whereas increasing rates of non-native species incursions across realms, taxonomic groups, and regions are well-reported, trends in abundances within these contexts have lacked analysis due to a paucity of long-term data at large spatiotemporal scales. These knowledge gaps impede prioritisation of realms, regions, and taxonomic groups for management. We analysed 180 biological time series (median 15 ± 12.8 sampling years) mainly from Long-Term Ecological Research (LTER) sites comprising abundances of marine, freshwater, and terrestrial non-native species in Europe. A high number (150; 83,3 %) of these time series were invaded by at least one non-native species. We tested whether (i) local long-term abundance trends of non-native species are consistent among environmental realms, taxonomic groups, and regions, and (ii) if any detected trend can be explained by climatic conditions. Our results indicate that abundance trends at local scales are highly variable, with evidence of declines in marine and freshwater long-term monitoring sites, despite non-native species reports increasing rapidly since the late 1970s. These declines were driven mostly by abundance trends in non-native fish, birds, and invertebrate species in three biogeographic regions (Continental, Atlantic, and the North Sea). Temperature and precipitation were important predictors of observed abundance trends across Europe. Yet, the response was larger for species with already declining trends and differed among taxa. Our results indicate that trends in biological invasions, especially across different taxonomic groups, are context-dependent and require robust local data to understand long-term trends across contexts at large scales. While the process of biological invasion is spatiotemporally broad, economic or ecological impacts are generally realised on the local level. Accordingly, we urge proactive and coordinated management actions from local to large scales, as invasion impacts are substantial and dynamics are prone to change.
Original languageEnglish
JournalScience of the total environment
Volume884
ISSN0048-9697
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1-Aug-2023

Thematic List 2020

  • Invasive species

Policy

  • biodiversity policy

Geographic list

  • Europe

Free keywords

  • trends

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