Global invasion in progress: modeling the past, current and potential global distribution of the common myna.
Determining the distribution and potential ranges of detrimental invasive species has become an essential task in light of their impacts on the environment. However, this effort has been challenging, especially for global invaders. Our goal was to test whether potential ranges of global invaders can be predicted, and examine the factors that shape them by studying the past, current and potential global distribution of a broad-ranging avian invader. We used the common myna (Acridotheres tristis), one of the most broad-ranging avian invaders whose range is currently expanding globally, as a case study. We collected the first detailed global database of global occurrence (n=7990) of the common myna over the past 150 years, including records from the native and the introduced ranges. We employed MaxEnt to construct species distribution models (SDM) for the global database using climatic, anthropogenic and environmental factors. We provide evidence that invasive species distributions can be predicted from older records, and that model accuracy requires integrating data from the introduced range. This first comprehensive distribution for an avian invader indicates an extensive expansion in the common myna global distribution, with the potential of large areas worldwide being at risk of common myna invasion, thus threatening local biodiversity globally. Range expansion has been facilitated by proximity to urbanized areas and broad environmental tolerance. Our findings reflect the major role of anthropogenic impact in increasing the global distribution of avian invaders and emphasize the value of using SDMs to inform global management practices.