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Ecol Appl. 2007 Jan;17(1):181-9.

Forecasting New Zealand Mudsnail invasion range: model comparisons using native and invaded ranges.

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  • 1Australian Centre for Biodiversity: Analysis, Policy and Management, School of Biological Sciences, Monash University, Clayton, 3800, Australia.


Evaluations of the potential distribution of invasive species can increase the efficiency of their management by focusing prevention measures. Generally, ecological models are built using occurrence data from a species' native range to predict the distribution in areas that the species may invade. However, historical and geographical constraints can limit a species' native distribution. Genetic Algorithm for Rule-set Production (GARP), an ecological niche modeling program, was used to predict the potential distribution of the invasive, freshwater New Zealand mudsnail, Potamopyrgus antipodarum, in Australia and North America. We compared the strength of the predictions made by models built with data from the snail's native range in New Zealand to models built with data from the locations invaded by the species. A time-series analysis of the Australian models demonstrated that range-of-invasion data can make better predictions about the potential distribution of invasive species than models built with native range data. Large differences among the model forecasts indicate that uncritical choice of the data set used in training the GARP models can result in misleading predictions. The models predict a large expansion in the range of P. antipodarum in both Australia and North America unless prevention measures are implemented rapidly.

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