Divergent biogeography of native and introduced soil macroinvertebrates in North America north of Mexico

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To improve understanding of the biogeographical consequences of species introduction, we examined whether introduced soil macroinvertebrates differ from natives in the relationship between species richness and key environmental predictors, and whether such differences affect the relationship between native and introduced species richness. For North America north of Mexico, we summarized jurisdiction occurrence data for seven macroinvertebrate taxa with strong influences on soil biodiversity or processes. We analysed the relationships of native and introduced species richness to each other using linear regression; to latitude using Gaussian regressions; and, using the residuals of the richness-latitude regressions, to distance from coasts, human population density, and human population size using regression and correlation. We found weak to strong positive relationships between native and introduced species richness. This variation was related to divergent relationships of native and introduced species with latitude, human population density, and distance from coasts. Native species richness declined with increasing latitude for all taxa, as did introduced species richness for taxa with predominantly lower-latitude origins (ants, termites, non-lumbricid earthworms). In contrast, introduced species richness peaked at higher latitudes for four taxa of predominantly Palearctic origins (weevils, ground beetles, lumbricid earthworms, isopods). Partitioning introduced taxa within these groups based on region of origin, we found that Palearctic taxa were distributed at higher latitudes than non-Palearctic taxa. Thus source region appears to strongly influence introduced species richness-latitude relationships. Compared to natives, introduced species exhibited more positive relationships with human population density and negative relationships with distance from coasts, but did not differ in relationships with human population size. Thus coastal, densely populated regions are likely to have a higher proportion of introduced soil macroinvertebrate species. These differences between distribution of native and introduced species tend to weaken positive correlations between native and introduced species richness, especially for taxa dominated by Palearctic introductions. © 2008 The Authors.

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Diversity and Distributions