Exotic species are often vilified as "bad" without consideration of the potential they have for contributing to ecological functions in degraded ecosystems. The red-eared slider turtle (RES) has been disparaged as one of the worst invasive species. Based on this review, we suggest that RES contribute some ecosystem functions in urban wetlands comparable to those provided by the native turtles they sometimes dominate or replace. While we do not advocate for releases outside their native range, or into natural environments, in this review, we examine the case for the RES to be considered potentially beneficial in heavily human-altered and degraded ecosystems where native turtles struggle or fail to persist. After reviewing the ecosystem functions RESs are known to provide, we conclude that in many modified environments the RES is a partial ecological analog to native turtles and removing them may obviate the ecological benefits they provide. We also suggest research avenues to better understand the role of RESs in heavily modified wetlands.
|Title||Re-evaluating invasive species in degraded ecosystems: A case study of red-eared slider turtles as partial ecological analogs|
|Authors||Marc Dupuis-Desormeaux, Jeffrey E. Lovich, J. Whitfield Gibbons|
|Publication Subtype||Journal Article|
|Series Title||Discover Sustainability|
|Record Source||USGS Publications Warehouse|
|USGS Organization||Southwest Biological Science Center|