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The paradox of invasion in birds: competitive superiority or ecological opportunism?

Overview of attention for article published in Oecologia, December 2011
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Title
The paradox of invasion in birds: competitive superiority or ecological opportunism?
Published in
Oecologia, December 2011
DOI 10.1007/s00442-011-2203-x
Pubmed ID
Authors

Daniel Sol, Ignasi Bartomeus, Andrea S. Griffin

Abstract

Why can alien species succeed in environments to which they have had no opportunity to adapt and even become more abundant than many native species? Ecological theory suggests two main possible answers for this paradox: competitive superiority of exotic species over native species and opportunistic use of ecological opportunities derived from human activities. We tested these hypotheses in birds combining field observations and experiments along gradients of urbanization in New South Wales (Australia). Five exotic species attained densities in the study area comparable to those of the most abundant native species, and hence provided a case for the invasion paradox. The success of these alien birds was not primarily associated with a competitive superiority over native species: the most successful invaders were smaller and less aggressive than their main native competitors, and were generally excluded from artificially created food patches where competition was high. More importantly, exotic birds were primarily restricted to urban environments, where the diversity and abundance of native species were low. This finding agrees with previous studies and indicates that exotic and native species rarely interact in nature. Observations and experiments in the field revealed that the few native species that exploit the most urbanized environments tended to be opportunistic foragers, adaptations that should facilitate survival in places where disturbances by humans are frequent and natural vegetation has been replaced by man-made structures. Successful invaders also shared these features, suggesting that their success is not a paradox but can be explained by their capacity to exploit ecological opportunities that most native species rarely use.

Twitter Demographics

The data shown below were collected from the profile of 1 tweeter who shared this research output. Click here to find out more about how the information was compiled.

Mendeley readers

The data shown below were compiled from readership statistics for 204 Mendeley readers of this research output. Click here to see the associated Mendeley record.

Geographical breakdown

Country Count As %
United States 5 2%
Spain 3 1%
Austria 2 <1%
Brazil 1 <1%
France 1 <1%
Australia 1 <1%
Italy 1 <1%
South Africa 1 <1%
New Zealand 1 <1%
Other 5 2%
Unknown 183 90%

Demographic breakdown

Readers by professional status Count As %
Student > Ph. D. Student 52 25%
Researcher 41 20%
Student > Master 39 19%
Student > Bachelor 20 10%
Other 13 6%
Other 27 13%
Unknown 12 6%
Readers by discipline Count As %
Agricultural and Biological Sciences 124 61%
Environmental Science 43 21%
Arts and Humanities 4 2%
Psychology 3 1%
Earth and Planetary Sciences 2 <1%
Other 5 2%
Unknown 23 11%

Attention Score in Context

This research output has an Altmetric Attention Score of 1. This is our high-level measure of the quality and quantity of online attention that it has received. This Attention Score, as well as the ranking and number of research outputs shown below, was calculated when the research output was last mentioned on 09 December 2011.
All research outputs
#8,183,431
of 10,432,967 outputs
Outputs from Oecologia
#2,573
of 2,742 outputs
Outputs of similar age
#176,673
of 257,397 outputs
Outputs of similar age from Oecologia
#16
of 20 outputs
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We're also able to compare this research output to 20 others from the same source and published within six weeks on either side of this one. This one is in the 5th percentile – i.e., 5% of its contemporaries scored the same or lower than it.