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Re-evaluating invasive species in degraded ecosystems: A case study of red-eared slider turtles as partial ecological analogs

April 27, 2022

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.

Citation Information

Publication Year 2022
Title Re-evaluating invasive species in degraded ecosystems: A case study of red-eared slider turtles as partial ecological analogs
DOI 10.1007/s43621-022-00083-w
Authors Marc Dupuis-Desormeaux, Jeffrey E. Lovich, J. Whitfield Gibbons
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Discover Sustainability
Series Number
Index ID 70232316
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Southwest Biological Science Center

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