Spatial scaling of non-native fish richness across the United States
A major goal and challenge of invasion ecology is to describe and interpret spatial and temporal patterns of species invasions. Here, we examined fish invasion patterns at four spatially structured and hierarchically nested scales across the contiguous United States (i.e., from large to small: region, basin, watershed, and sub-watershed). All spatial relationships in both richness and fraction between species groups (e.g., natives vs. exotics) were positive at large scales. However, contrary to predictions using '/neutral models, the patterns at small scales were hump-shaped (unimodal), not simply negative. The fractions of both domestic (introduced among watersheds within the USA) and foreign (introduced from abroad) exotics increased with area across scales but decreased within each scale. The foreign exotics exhibited the highest dominance (lowest evenness) and spatial variation in distribution, followed by domestic exotics and natives, although on average natives still occupy larger areas than domestic and foreign exotics. The results provide new insight into patterns and mechanisms of fish species invasions at multiple spatial scales in the United States.