A comparative analysis of the factors promoting deer invasion
Fautley R., Coulson T., Savolainen V.
Invasive non-native deer can cause negative impacts at ecosystem, community and population levels. Here we aim to determine which characteristics predict success at two stages of the invasion process, establishment and spread, in introduced deer. We collected historical data on the outcomes of introduction events and compiled a dataset of species traits. Characteristics correlated to the success of invasion were identified using linear modelling methods, which control for the non-independence of the introduction events. A phylogenetic tree of the deer was reconstructed using DNA markers in order to control for the effects of common ancestry in species level analyses. At the species level, we found weaning age, age at sexual maturity and native range size are predictive of establishment, whereas weaning body mass is predictive of spread. At the population level we found that establishment success is primarily determined by the number of introduced individuals whereas breadth of habitat and diet determine which of the established populations will spread. © 2012 Springer Science+Business Media B.V.