A new study by researchers from Durham University, UK, Queen’s University Belfast, UK, University of Extremadura, Spain and Swansea University, UK has revealed that vertebrate species involved in the live wildlife trade have distinctive features of history life, biological characteristics that determine the frequency. and the timing of reproduction.
The researchers found that the traded species produce large numbers of offspring over a long reproductive life, an unusual profile that is likely financially advantageous for trades involving captive breeding, such as the pet, food and fur trade/ skins
Traded species that have also been introduced into non-native areas have a more extreme version of this life profile, suggesting that the species most likely to become problem invaders are at increased risk of trade and release.
The study suggests that humans prefer species with high reproductive output for trade and release, which are the very species likely to become problematic invaders in the future.
The researchers point out that life history traits are therefore potentially useful for predicting future invasions.
The full results of the study were published in the journal Communication of nature.
Reflecting on the study’s findings, first author Dr Sally Street from Durham University said: ‘Invasive species can cause huge environmental problems but are difficult to manage once established. This means that it is really important to try to identify the characteristics that increase the risk of occurrence. species that go through the first stages of the invasion, transport and introduction pathway, which have been relatively little studied.”
“We show that not only are life history traits useful for identifying species at risk of trade, introduction and ultimately invasion, human activities unfortunately appear to favor trade in species that are most likely to succeed if they are released. We hope that our study will contribute to the management and mitigation of future invasions and the damage they may cause to biodiversity.”
Study co-author Dr Isabella Capellini from Queen’s University Belfast said: ‘The rate of species being traded is increasing rapidly worldwide; some of these species are accidentally or deliberately introduced and can become problematic invaders that damage native ecosystems. costs of managing invasive alien species, preventing the release of potentially invasive species can help protect native biodiversity.”
“To help achieve this, in our study we also identified some vertebrate species that are at risk of becoming future invaders if they are traded, and we recommend that such species be monitored and banned from trade.”
The researchers studied trade data from the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), the Law Enforcement Information System (LEMIS) and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
They analyzed the role of life history traits in the likelihood that mammals, reptiles and amphibians were involved in the wildlife trade and that these species were released outside their native ranges.
Invasive species can cause huge environmental problems and monetary costs. Once established, invasive populations can be difficult or impossible to manage.
Therefore, understanding the early stages of invasion and predicting future invasions is crucial to minimize this harm.
Sally E. Street et al., Human Activities Foster Prolific Life Histories in Both Traded and Introduced Vertebrates, Communication of nature (2023). DOI: 10.1038/s41467-022-35765-6
Provided by Durham University
Citation: Researchers find traded species have distinct life histories with extended reproductive life cycles (2023, January 20) Retrieved January 21, 2023 from https://phys.org/news/2023-01-species-distinctive-life -histories-reproductive.html
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