Biological invasions are one of the main components of global change. Through mechanisms such as predation, hybridization or competition, invasive species are a major cause of biodiversity loss, alteration of ecosystems, and biotic homogenization. In addition, they have a strong impact on the health and economy of human societies. At the same time, invasive species provide unique opportunities to understand major evolutionary and ecological processes due to their ability to adapt to new environments and successfully compete with native species. Not all exotic species arriving to a region become invasive. Only a small fraction of species manage to establish themselves successfully and, of these, only a few are able to increase in numbers and become invasive. Similarly, not all invasive species have an impact on biodiversity, human health or the economy. However, once established, the control or eradication of the species is difficult and the associated economic costs can be huge. For these reasons it is important to emphasise prevention and rapid response mechanisms. In addition to monitoring and regulating routes of entry of invasive species, prevention requires understanding what makes a species a good invader or a region particularly susceptible to invasion.
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