In DepthEcology

Daring to live on the edge

See allHide authors and affiliations

Science  27 Jun 2014:
Vol. 344, Issue 6191, pp. 1439
DOI: 10.1126/science.344.6191.1439

You are currently viewing the summary.

View Full Text

Log in to view the full text

Log in through your institution

Log in through your institution


Around the world, invasive animal species are pushing out the natives, sometimes forever altering ecosystems. House sparrows are a prime example, having spread from Europe to most inhabited parts of the world. By following the house sparrow invasion of Kenya, researchers have gleaned key traits underlying its incredible success. They documented differences in the immune system and stress responses in birds on the leading edge of the expansion. And last month, they reported finding another clue: a penchant for novel foods in those beachhead birds. The discovery adds to the growing body of evidence about the benefits of behavioral flexibility for animals moving outside their natural homes.