Introduction pathways and establishment rates of invasive aquatic species in Europe

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Species invasion is one of the leading mechanisms of global environmental change, particularly in freshwater ecosystems. We used the Food and Agriculture Organization's Database of Invasive Aquatic Species to study invasion rates and to analyze invasion pathways within Europe. Of the 123 aquatic species introduced into six contrasting European countries, the average percentage established is 63%, well above the 5%-20% suggested by Williamson's "tens" rule. The introduction and establishment transitions are independent of each other, and species that became widely established did so because their introduction was attempted in many countries, not because of a better establishment capability. The most frequently introduced aquatic species in Europe are freshwater fishes. We describe clear introduction pathways of aquatic species into Europe and three types of country are observed: "recipient and donor" (large, midlatitude European countries, such as France, the United Kingdom, and Germany, that give and receive the most introductions), "recipient" (most countries, but particularly southern countries, which give few species but receive many), and "neither recipient nor donor" (only two countries). A path analysis showed that the numbers of species given and received are mediated by the size (area) of the country and population density, but not gross domestic product per capita ​
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