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Climate and habitat configuration limit range expansion and patterns of dispersal in a non-native lizard
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  • Robert Williams,
  • Alison Dunn,
  • Lily Mendes da Costa,
  • Chris Hassall
Robert Williams
University of Leeds Faculty of Biological Sciences
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Alison Dunn
University of Leeds Faculty of Biological Sciences
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Lily Mendes da Costa
University of Leeds Faculty of Biological Sciences
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Chris Hassall
University of Leeds Faculty of Biological Sciences, University of Leeds
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Abstract

ABSTRACT Aim Invasive species are one of the main causes of biodiversity loss world-wide. As introduced populations increase in abundance and geographical range, so does the potential for negative impacts on native communities. As such, there is a need to better understand the processes driving range expansion as species become established in recipient landscapes. We investigated the potential for population growth and range expansion of introduced populations of a non-native lizard (Podarcis muralis), considering multi-scale factors influencing growth and spatial spread. Location England, UK Methods We collated records of P. muralis presence through field surveys and a citizen science campaign. We used presence-only models to predict climate suitability at a national scale (5km resolution), and fine-scale habitat suitability at the local scale (2m resolution). We then integrated local models into an individual-based modelling platform to simulate population dynamics and forecast range expansion for 10 populations in heterogeneous landscapes. Results National-scale models indicated climate suitability restricted to the southern parts of the UK, limited by a latitudinal cline in overwintering conditions. Patterns of population growth and range expansion were related to differences in local landscape configuration and heterogeneity. Growth curves suggest populations could be in the early stages of exponential growth. However, annual rates of range expansion are predicted to be low (5-16 m). Conclusions We conclude that extensive nationwide range expansion through secondary introduction is likely to be restricted by currently unsuitable climate beyond southern regions of the UK. However, exponential growth of local populations in habitats providing transport pathways is likely to increase opportunities for regional expansion. The broad habitat niche of P. muralis, coupled with configuration of habitat patches in the landscape, allows populations to increase locally with minimal dispersal.

Peer review status:Published

01 Jun 2020Submitted to Ecology and Evolution
05 Jun 2020Submission Checks Completed
05 Jun 2020Assigned to Editor
06 Jun 2020Reviewer(s) Assigned
24 Jun 2020Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
01 Jul 2020Editorial Decision: Revise Minor
01 Dec 20201st Revision Received
02 Dec 2020Assigned to Editor
02 Dec 2020Submission Checks Completed
02 Dec 2020Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
08 Dec 2020Reviewer(s) Assigned
22 Dec 2020Editorial Decision: Revise Minor
24 Dec 20202nd Revision Received
26 Dec 2020Assigned to Editor
26 Dec 2020Submission Checks Completed
26 Dec 2020Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
04 Jan 2021Editorial Decision: Accept
22 Feb 2021Published in Ecology and Evolution. 10.1002/ece3.7284