Extreme weather is helping invaders replace native fauna globally, a Chinese-led study suggests

Extreme weather is helping invaders replace native fauna globally, a Chinese-led study suggests

The Earth’s temperature is increasingly rising Extreme weather events This could be beneficial for invasive animal species, according to a global analysis by scientists in China and the United States.

The study found that non-native animals were less sensitive to extreme weather events than their native counterparts, and that events such as heatwaves, cold snaps, storms, floods and droughts may help invaders establish themselves and spread.

When combined with ongoing changes in the Earth’s climate, invasive species pose greater risks to biodiversity, the researchers said.

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The researchers, from the Key Laboratory of Animal Ecology and Conservation Biology at the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the University of Notre Dame in Indiana, published their findings in the peer-reviewed journal Nature Ecology & Evolution on Monday.

The new research follows previous studies that have shown that successful invasive species may outperform their native counterparts because they experience faster growth rates, stronger competitive abilities, increased ability to withstand environmental disturbances, and recover and reproduce faster than native plants and animals.

The researchers pointed to the example of the Rio Minho estuary in Portugal, where local fish populations declined after severe drought and floods. The waters then saw the expansion and dominance of a few groups of invasive fish species.

In Sevastopol Bay, in the northern Black Sea at the southwestern tip of the Crimean Peninsula, non-native crustaceans showed a greater ability to withstand marine heatwaves than native species, they cited a 2022 study.

“Despite these amazing case studies, a comprehensive understanding of the overall impact of Extreme weather events “There remains a lack of monitoring of non-native and native species across ecosystems, hampering predictions of non-native species responses to climate change and their combined impacts on native species,” the scientists said.

In the latest study, the team analyzed nearly 450 studies that looked at the responses of more than 1,800 native animal species and about 190 non-native animal species from terrestrial, marine, and freshwater habitats to extreme weather events.

They found that, in general, non-native species have advantages in adaptation, resistance and recovery from extreme weather events compared to native species, especially for terrestrial and freshwater ecosystems.


A rare “butterfly explosion” was seen in the biodiverse southwestern Chinese province of Yunnan

A rare “butterfly explosion” was seen in the biodiverse province of Yunnan, southwest China

“Our current analyzes can facilitate Early prevention The researchers said the schemes against biological invasions and climate change globally and improve the development of sustainable policies in the era of global change.
The team found that both Unoriginal Local marine fauna were generally not sensitive to extreme weather events, although local molluscs (a group of soft-bodied invertebrates that include snails, clams and octopuses), corals and anemones were negatively affected by heatwaves.

Non-native land animals were more affected by heat waves, while freshwater animals were found to be more sensitive to storms.

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Meanwhile, native animals in terrestrial ecosystems responded poorly to heat waves, cold spells and drought, while those in freshwater habitats were vulnerable to most events except cold spells, according to the study.

The team also identified areas in the world where there are two hotspots of the disease Extreme weather events And non-native species that were very tolerant of those events.

In cases of floods and droughts, for example, overlapping areas are found in the mid-latitudes of the Mediterranean, Central Asia, South Australia, East Asia and Southeast Asia.

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For heatwaves, the overlapping regions were mainly distributed in mid-latitude regions, including the western and southeastern United States, southern Brazil, the southern Mediterranean, southern Africa, southeastern Asia, southern Australia, New Zealand, the northwest coast, and the Indies. Ocean, West Coast and Pacific Islands.

“We suggest that future studies should prioritize these less sensitive animals at nesting sites so that mitigation strategies can be implemented in a timely manner if native species show declines associated with biological invasions and intensification of extreme climate events caused by Global changeThe team said.

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