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    Author(s): Ariel E. Lugo; T.A. Carlo; Jr. Wunderle
    Date: 2012
    Source: Animal Conservation. 15(3): 233-241.
    Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)
    Station: International Institute of Tropical Forestry
    PDF: View PDF  (184.07 KB)

    Description

    Global anthropogenic activities are responsible for the modification of landscapes, creation of novel environments and movement of species across biogeographic regions. A consequence of this activity is the mixing of native and introduced species and the formation of novel biotic communities. We review the ecological consequences of the mixing of native and introduced species in the Caribbean Islands especially in Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands. Here we found documented examples indicating that novel communities of native and naturalized organisms are ubiquitous. The coexistence of species originating from different biogeographical regions raises research questions that demand attention for their ecological and conservation importance. For example: Is animal abundance in novel communities a measure of habitat quality? To what degree are populations in novel communities self-sustaining? What are the consequences of species eradication? How does an introduced animal’s trophic position affect its effects on novel and native communities? We suggest that novel communities that emerge in the Caribbean after deforestation and land abandonment could be harbingers of how the biota might respond elsewhere to rapidly changing environmental conditions, including global and climate change.

    Publication Notes

    • We recommend that you also print this page and attach it to the printout of the article, to retain the full citation information.
    • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.

    Citation

    Lugo, Ariel E.; Carlo, T.A.; Wunderle, Jr., J.M. 2012. Natural mixing of species: novel plant–animal communities on Caribbean Islands. Animal Conservation. 15(3): 233-241.

    Keywords

    novel communities, introduced species, Caribbean, Puerto Rico, US Virgin Islands, community assembly, naturalized species, species invasions, tropical forests, species eradication

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