An environmental resistance model to inform the biogeography of aquatic invasions in complex stream networks

Abstract: Freshwater invasions are a global conservation issue. Emerging tools for biogeographical analyses can provide critical information for their effective management and monitoring. Here, we propose a method to assess the distribution of environmental resistance of stream ecosystems to biological invasions by coupling multi-stage habitat potential models for non-native species.

Environmental resistance to invasive species was mapped throughout a large region of Patagonia by stacking multi-stage habitat relationships for each target species and assessing the complementation between critical habitats at multiple scales. We generated an environmental model of stream networks derived from high-resolution topographic and climatic data representing 15,406 drainage basins (>1 km2) covering an area of 369,791 km2. We quantified the intrinsic potential of stream-reaches (100-m and 1000-m) to sustain high-quality habitats and assessed habitat complementation (i.e., abundance and proximity) at the sub-basin scale as a proxy for environmental resistance.

Our model revealed high heterogeneity in the distribution of environmental resistance to invasions throughout the study region, providing case-specific insights for the research and management of invaders. Environmental resistance modeling is a novel method to study the biogeography of riverine invasions. Our approach is compatible with additional sources of information about species and the environment and shows versatility to diverse invasion scenarios and data sources. This method can be useful in prioritizing research and management of incipient and spreading invasions, especially for large and data-poor regions.

Authors: J. Andrés OlivosIvan ArismendiBrooke E. PenalunaRebecca FlitcroftAlejandro Huertas HerreraJulie FirmanGuillermo Giannico

Olivos, J. Andrés, et al
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Journal of Biogeography, April 21, 2023
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