Product Type: Thesis & Dissert
Author(s): Holcombe, T.R
Holcombe, T.R. 2009. Early detection and rapid assessment of invasive organisms under global climate change. DISSERT. Fort Collins, CO: Colorado State University. 112 p.
This publication is available from Colorado State University .
Invasive species alter native species assemblages, effect ecosystem processes, and threaten biodiversity worldwide. Early detection and rapid assessment will help stem the problem, focusing managers attention on newly established invasive species before they spread. This is a big task requiring a coordinated effort and a centralized data sharing effort. One tool that can be used in this effort is Geographic Information Systems (GIS). GIS can be used to create potential distribution maps for all manner of taxa, including plants, animals, and diseases, and may perform well in early detection and rapid assessment of invasive species. As an example application, I created maps of potential spread of the cane toad (Bufo marinus) in the southeastern United States at an 8-digit Hydrologic Unit Code (HUC) level using regression and environmental envelope techniques. Equipped with this potential map, resource managers can target field surveys to areas most vulnerable to invasion. However, there is a general need in invasive species research to quantify the potential habitat of many invasive plant species. I was interested in modeling the shifts in suitable habitat over time, environmental space, and climate change. I used 4-km2 climate scenarios projected to the years 2020 and 2035 for the continental United States, to examine potential invasive species habitat distributions. I used maximum entropy modeling (Maxent) to create three models for 12 invasive plant species: (1) current potential habitat suitability; (2) potential habitat suitability in 2020; and (3) potential habitat suitability in 2035. These models showed areas where habitat suitability remains stable, increases, or decreases with climate change. Area under the receiver operating characteristic curve (AUC) values for the models ranged from 0.92 for Pennisetum ciliare to 0.70 for Lonicera japonica, with 10 of the 12 being above 0.83 suggesting strong and predictable species-environment matching. Change in area between the current potential habitat and the year 2035 ranged from a potential habitat loss of about 217,000 km2 for Cirsium arvense, to a potential habitat gain of about 133,000 km2 for Microstegium vimineum. These results have important implications for developing a triage approach to invasive species management under varying rates of climate change.