Lamelas López, L., Pardavila, X., Borges, P.A.V., Santos-Reis, M., Amorim, I.R. & Sanyos, M.J. (2020) Modelling the distribution of Mustela nivalis and M. putorius in the Azores archipelago based on native and introduced ranges.PLOS One, 15(8), e0237216. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0237216 (IF2020 3,240; Q1 Multidisciplinary Sciences)
The aims of this study were to predict the potential distribution of two introduced Mustelidae, Mustela nivalis and M. putorius in the Azores archipelago (Portugal), and evaluate the relative contribution of environmental factors from native and introduced ranges to predict species distribution ranges in oceanic islands. We developed two sets of Species Distribution Models using MaxEnt and distribution data from the native and introduced ranges of the species to project their potential distribution in the archipelago. We found differences in the predicted distributions for the models based on introduced and on native occurrences for both species, with different most important variables being selected. Climatic variables were most important for the introduced range models, while other groups of variables (i.e., human-disturbance) were included in the native-based models. Most of the islands of the Azorean archipelago were predicted to have suitable habitat for both species, even when not yet occupied. Our results showed that predicting the invaded range based on introduced range environmental conditions predicted a narrower range. These results highlight the difficulty to transfer models from native to introduced ranges across taxonomically related species, making it difficult to predict future invasions and range expansion.