Extreme weather, like the July 2012 heat wave, may not only increase air-conditioning bills but also the likelihood and success of species invasions. A new paper that Julian co-authored in Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, outlines the ways in which these events – droughts, hurricanes, floods, and heat waves – can influence transport, establishment, spread, and impact of non-native species. Both empirical evidence and invasion theory suggest that extreme events can 1) increase transport rates of non-native species, 2) reduce resistance of native communities through added stressors, and 3) change the balance of competition between native and non-native species.
Extreme, unusual, and more variable climate events, are predicted to become more frequent and intense with ongoing climate change. Slowing the rate of species introductions around the world will probably require managers to factor in increases in the magnitude and the number of extreme climatic events.