Biological Invasions (2013) 15, 1561-1572
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Global warming may freeze the invasion of big-headed ants
Biological Invasions 15 (7), 1561-1572
Abstract: Climate change and invasive species are two of the most serious threats of biodiversity. A general concern is that these threats interact, and that a globally warming climate could favour invasive species. In this study we investigate the invasive potential of one of the "100 of the world's worst invasive species", the big-headed ant Pheidole megacephala. Using ecological niche models, we estimated the species' potential suitable habitat in 2020, 2050 and 2080. With an ensemble forecast obtained from five different modelling techniques, 3 Global Circulation Models and 2 CO2 emission scenarios, we generated world maps with suitable climatic conditions and assessed changes, both qualitatively and quantitatively. Almost one-fifth (18.5 %) of the landmass currently presents suitable climatic conditions for P. megacephala. Surprisingly, our results also indicate that the invasion of big-headed ants is not only unlikely to benefit from climate change, but may even suffer from it. Our projections show a global decrease in the invasive potential of big-headed ants as early as 2020 and becoming even stronger by 2080 reaching a global loss of 19.4 % of area with favourable climate. The decrease is observable in all 6 broad regions, being greatest in the Oceania and lowest in Europe.
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Research topic(s) for pests/diseases/weeds:
environment - cropping system/rotation
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