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Fast life history traits promote invasion success in amphibians and reptiles.

Allen, W.L. and Street, S.E. and Capellini, I. (2017) 'Fast life history traits promote invasion success in amphibians and reptiles.', Ecology letters., 20 (2). pp. 222-230.

Abstract

Competing theoretical models make different predictions on which life history strategies facilitate growth of small populations. While ‘fast’ strategies allow for rapid increase in population size and limit vulnerability to stochastic events, ‘slow’ strategies and bet-hedging may reduce variance in vital rates in response to stochasticity. We test these predictions using biological invasions since founder alien populations start small, compiling the largest dataset yet of global herpetological introductions and life history traits. Using state-of-the-art phylogenetic comparative methods, we show that successful invaders have fast traits, such as large and frequent clutches, at both establishment and spread stages. These results, together with recent findings in mammals and plants, support ‘fast advantage’ models and the importance of high potential population growth rate. Conversely, successful alien birds are bet-hedgers. We propose that transient population dynamics and differences in longevity and behavioural flexibility can help reconcile apparently contrasting results across terrestrial vertebrate classes.

Item Type:Article
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Available under License - Creative Commons Attribution.
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Status:Peer-reviewed
Publisher Web site:https://doi.org/10.1111/ele.12728
Publisher statement:© 2017 The Authors. Ecology Letters published by CNRS and John Wiley & Sons Ltd. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Date accepted:02 December 2016
Date deposited:24 August 2017
Date of first online publication:04 January 2017
Date first made open access:24 August 2017

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