Title

Assessing introduction risk using species’ rank-abundance distributions

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

2014

Publication Title

Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences

Volume

282

Issue

1799

DOI

10.1098/rspb.2014.1517

Abstract

Mixed-species assemblages are often unintentionally introduced into new ecosystems. Analysing how assemblage structure varies during transport may provide insights into how introduction risk changes before propagules are released. Characterization of introduction risk is typically based on assessments of colonization pressure (CP, the number of species transported) and total propagule pressure (total PP, the total abundance of propagules released) associated with an invasion vector. Generally, invasion potential following introduction increases with greater CP or total PP. Here, we extend these assessments using rank-abundance distributions to examine how CP: total PP relationships change temporally in ballast water of ocean-going ships. Rank-abundance distributions and CP: total PP patterns varied widely between trans-Atlantic and trans-Pacific voyages, with the latter appearing to pose a much lower risk than the former. Responses also differed by taxonomic group, with invertebrates experiencing losses mainly in total PP,while diatoms and dinoflagellates sustained losses mainly in CP. In certain cases, open-ocean ballastwater exchange appeared to increase introduction risk by uptake of new species or supplementation of existing ones. Our study demonstrates that rankabundance distributions provide new insights into the utility of CP and PP in characterizing introduction risk. © 2014 The Author(s) Published by the Royal Society. All rights reserved.

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