Niche Differentiation and Fine-Scale Projections for Argentine Ants Based on Remotely Sensed Data

Modeling ecological niches of species is a promising approach for predicting the geographic potential of invasive species in new environments. Argentine ants (Linepithema humile) rank among the most successful invasive species: native to South America, they have invaded broad areas worldwide. Despite their widespread success, little is known about what makes an area susceptible - or not - to invasion. Here, we use a genetic algorithm approach to ecological niche modeling based on high-resolution remote-sensing data to examine the roles of niche similarity and difference in predicting invasions by this species. Our comparisons support a picture of general conservatism of the species' ecological characteristics, in spite of distinct geographic and community contexts ​
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