Estimating the rate of biological introductions: Lessepsian fishes in the Mediterranean

Jonathan Belmaker*, Eran Brokovich, Victor China, Daniel Golani, Moshe Kifawi

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


Sampling issues preclude the direct use of the discovery rate of exotic species as a robust estimate of their rate of introduction. Recently, a method was advanced that allows maximum-likelihood estimation of both the observational probability and the introduction rate from the discovery record. Here, we propose an alternative approach that utilizes the discovery record of native species to control for sampling effort. Implemented in a Bayesian framework using Markov chain Monte Carlo simulations, the approach provides estimates of the rate of introduction of the exotic species, and of additional parameters such as the size of the species pool from which they are drawn. We illustrate the approach using Red Sea fishes recorded in the eastern Mediterranean, after crossing the Suez Canal, and show that the two approaches may lead to different conclusions. The analytical framework is highly flexible and could provide a basis for easy modification to other systems for which first-sighting data on native and introduced species are available.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1134-1141
Number of pages8
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Colonization
  • Coral reef fishes
  • Hierarchical Bayes
  • Invasion
  • Nonindigenons species
  • State-space modeling


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