U.S. Department of Agriculture: Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service


Historical Records Of Passerine Introductions To New Zealand Fail To Support The Propagule Pressure Hypothesis

Date of this Version



Published in Biodiversity and Conservation 21: (2012), pp. 297-307.


Blackburn et al. (Biodiver Conserv 20:2189-2199, 2011) claim that a reanalysis of passerine introductions to New Zealand supports the propagule pressure hypothesis. The conclusion of Blackburn et al. (2011) are invalid for three reasons: First, the historical record is so flawed that there is no sound basis for identifying the mechanisms behind extinction following introduction, or whether species were successful because they were introduced in large numbers or were introduced in large numbers because earlier releases succeeded. Second, the GLIMMIX analysis of Blackburn et al. (2011) is biased in favor of the propagule pressure hypothesis. Third, the population viability analysis presented by Blackburn et al. (2011) is based on unjustified and questionable assumptions. It is unlikely that the outcome of passerine bird introductions to New Zealand depended on species characteristics, site characteristics, and human decision more than on a simple summing of the numbers introduced.