Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Prioritizing areas in the native range of hygrophila for surveys to collect biological control agents.

Abstract

Native to Southeast Asia, Hygrophila polysperma is an invasive aquatic weed of lotic habitats in the southern United States and Mexico. An increase in the number of water bodies invaded by hygrophila since 1990 suggests that current methods employed to control this weed are inadequate. Classical biological control may be a viable option for long term regulation of hygrophila in the invaded range. In this study, we used the Maximum Entropy Species Distribution Model (MaxEnt) to prioritize climatically suitable native habitats in India and Bangladesh for conducting exploratory surveys to collect biological control agents. In total, 164 point occurrences from the United States and Mexico and 20 predictor variables, including 19 bioclimatic variables and altitude, were used to predict the native distribution of hygrophila. Performance of the model was statistically verified using threshold dependent binomial tests and area under the curve (AUC) score of the receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve plot. The results showed that the model performed significantly better than random in both binomial tests and AUC analyses. High suitability of occurrence of hygrophila was predicted in the northeastern region of India and northern and eastern parts of Bangladesh. Based on percent omission of known native occurrences, a color-coded final distribution map was prepared to prioritize areas for conducting future surveys. Our study proposes a technique that can be useful for prioritizing areas in native ranges for exploratory surveys to collect biological control agents.