Man's interference with the environment encourages colonization by species that are often undesirable, hence a technique by which potential colonizers can be identified is urgently required. It can be developed when general prerequisites for successful colonization are identified. These prerequisites can then serve as criteria to distinguish potential colonizers from non‐colonizers. The proposed relevant prerequisites are associated with two problems encountered by all colonists: small founding populations and a difference in the environmental conditions between the source area and the target, making the target rather unpredictable. Both these features increase the risk of random extinction, which can be overcome by possessing a potential for rapid population growth (high r) and for rapid adaptation to environmental conditions (high genetic variability). The parameters associated with meeting these prerequisites can serve for the identification of potential colonizers and for ranking species as to their colonization ability. The proposed technique may best be tested by comparing the intrinsic growth rate and the electrophoretic variability of species that have recently colonized with closely related species that have not done so under similar circumstances. The colonization of the eastern Mediterranean by Red Sea species immigrating via the Suez Canal created an appropriate system for such a test.
Biological Journal of the Linnean Society – Oxford University Press
Published: Jun 1, 1980
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