Modelling and managing alien species in the sub-Antarctic: successes and insights from Marion Island

Modelling and managing alien species in the sub-Antarctic: successes and insights from Marion Island
Peter C. le Roux
University of Pretoria, Department of Plant Science

Due to their low indigenous species richness and limited anthropogenic transformation, sub-Antarctic islands provide valuable natural laboratories for the study of invasion biology in relatively simple ecosystems. Moreover, due to the serious ecological impacts of some invasive species on these islands, reducing the rate of introduction of new species and managing established aliens is a conservation priority in the region. This presentation highlights three key research projects conducted on  sub-Antarctic Marion Island, considering the lessons learnt for the management of alien species elsewhere: 1) The successful eradication of feral cats, a species which heavily impacted on the island's seabird population with knock-on effects on vegetation patterns; 2) The island-wide surveying and modelling of alien vascular plant species distributions, which revealed species-specific drivers of distribution patterns and the potential consequences of current warming trends; and 3) The quantification of propagule pressure associated with a national scientific research program, and the implications thereof for the program's logistics.