Island Biogeography of Populations: An Introduced Species Transforms Survival Patterns

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Science  16 Dec 2005:
Vol. 310, Issue 5755, pp. 1807-1809
DOI: 10.1126/science.1120165

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Population phenomena, which provide much of the underlying basis for the theoretical structure of island biogeography, have received little direct study. We determined a key population trait—survival—in the Bahamian lizard Anolis sagrei on islands with an experimentally introduced predatory lizard and on neighboring unmanipulated islands. On unmanipulated islands, survival declined with several variables, most notably vegetation height: The island with the shortest vegetation had nearly the highest survival recorded for any lizard. On islands with the introduced predator, which forages mostly on the ground, A. sagrei shifted to taller vegetation; unlike on unmanipulated islands, its survival was very low on islands with the shortest vegetation but was higher on the others. Thus, species introduction radically changed a resident species' relation of survival to a key island-biogeographical variable.

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