How do urbanization and invasive alien species interact in their impacts to native biodiversity?

Lead Research Organisation: Imperial College London
Department Name: Life Sciences


NERC : Thomas Weeks : NE/S007415/1
Land-use change and biological invasions are two of the three major drivers of biodiversity decline globally, however, interactions between these drivers can often have synergistic effects on native ecosystems. This is a phenomenon which is well known but relatively understudied. In particular, little is known about how these drivers interact to affect whole community diversity and function This proposal serves to add to this knowledge gap by collaboration with the long-term ecological monitoring programme from Toronto Region and Conservation Agency, which has consolidated high-resolution time-series data of land-usage in southern Ontario as well as comprehensive ecological surveys including both native and invasive species. Using this data we propose to model the effects of both urbanization and invasive species on native biodiversity in local assemblages in Toronto and the surrounding region. We pay specific attention to how increasing degradation of natural habitats interacts with invasive species abundance its effects to native functional-trait and phylogenetic biodiversity. By using high-resolution projection of land-use change into the remainder of the 21st century we will highlight areas where biodiversity is most at risk as well as areas which would be least resilient to further spread of invasive species.


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