The effect of local species composition on the distribution of an avian invader

Tali Magory Cohen, Roi Dor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Estimating the potential distribution of invasive species has been primarily achieved by employing species distribution models (SDM). Recently introduced joint species distribution models (JSDM) that include species interactions are expected to improve model output. Here we compare the predictive ability of SDM and JSDM by modelling the distribution of one of the most prolific avian invaders in the world, the common myna (Acridotheres tristis), in a recent introduction in Israel. Our results indicate that including information on the local species composition did not improve model accuracy, possibly because of the unique characteristics of this species that include broad environmental tolerance and behavior flexibility. However, the JSDM provided insights into co-occurrence patterns of common mynas and their local heterospecifics, suggesting that at this time point, there is no evidence of species exclusion by common mynas. Our findings suggest that the invasion potential of common mynas depends greatly on urbanization and less so on the local species composition and reflect the major role of anthropogenic impact in increasing the distribution of avian invaders.

Original languageEnglish
Article number15861
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2019
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors wish to thank Roy Martin and Michael A. McCarthy for their invaluable help with data analysis. We also thank Takuya Iwamura and Jonathan Belmaker for their helpful comments and to Adi Barocas and Hezi Buba for their help with programming. Further thanks are due to Angelo Soto-Centeno for his thoughtful guidance. We are grateful to the Israel Nature Protection Authority and its rangers, Shlomit Lifshitz and The Israeli Center for Yardbirds, the Society of Protection of Nature in Israel - Israel Birding Portal, HaMaarag–Israel’s National Ecosystem Assessment Program, and C. Holzapfel for their valuable assistance in records collection. This research received funding from The Tel Aviv University Global Research & Training Fellowship in Medical and Life Sciences (GRTF) fund, The Smaller-Winnikow Fellowship Fund for Environmental Research, and The Rieger Foundation-Jewish National Fund fellowship.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019, The Author(s).


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