INVASIVE SPECIES

The problem with our predators

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Science  07 Oct 2016:
Vol. 354, Issue 6308, pp. 78-79
DOI: 10.1126/science.354.6308.78-a

Mammalian predators can make great pets, but as invasive species, they have big negative impacts on natives.

PHOTO: ZSV3207/ISTOCKPHOTO

In our modern world, in which people move themselves and their goods across the entire globe, species invasions have become commonplace. Such invasions have varying degrees of impacts, with some species actually performing important functional replacements and others driving native species to extinction. Doherty et al. look at one of the most damaging groups, invasive mammalian predators. Just as predators in their own habitats have strong structuring effects, invading predators have large impacts on native species. Such effects are strongest and most damaging in island environments. Finding that islands should be the highest priority for action provides some hope for the potential to decrease predator impacts through removal, an option often frowned upon in continental areas, where invasive predators may be our own companions.

Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 10.1073/pnas.1602480113 (2016).

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