The Australian National Rabbit Database: 50†yr of population monitoring of an invasive species
Roy-Dufresne, E and Lurgi, M and Brown, SC and Wells, K and Cooke, B and Mutze, G and Peacock, D and Cassey, P and Berman, D and Brook, BW and Campbell, S and Cox, T and Daly, J and Dunk, I and Elsworth, P and Fletcher, D and Forsyth, DM and Hocking, G and Kovaliski, J and Leane, M and Low, B and Kennedy, M and Matthews, J and McPhee, S and Mellin, C and Mooney, T and Moseby, K and Read, J and Richardson, BJ and Schneider, K and Schwarz, E and Sinclair, R and Strive, T and Triulcio, F and West, P and Saltre, F and Fordham, DA, The Australian National Rabbit Database: 50 yr of population monitoring of an invasive species, Ecology, 100, (7) Article e02750. ISSN 0012-9658 (2019) [Refereed Article]
With ongoing introductions into Australia since the 1700s, the European rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus) has become one of the most widely distributed and abundant vertebrate pests, adversely impacting Australia's biodiversity and agroeconomy. To understand the population and range dynamics of the species and its impacts better, occurrence and abundance data have been collected by researchers and citizens from sites covering a broad spectrum of climatic and environmental conditions in Australia. The lack of a common and accessible repository for these data has, however, limited their use in determining important spatiotemporal drivers of the structure and dynamics of the geographical range of rabbits in Australia. To meet this need, we created the Australian National Rabbit Database, which combines more than 50¬†yr of historical and contemporary survey data collected from throughout the range of the species in Australia. The survey data, obtained from a suite of complementary monitoring methods, were combined with high-resolution weather, climate, and environmental information, and an assessment of data quality. The database provides records of rabbit occurrence (689,265 records) and abundance (51,241 records, >120 distinct sites) suitable for identifying the spatiotemporal drivers of the rabbit's distribution and for determining spatial patterns of variation in its key life-history traits, including maximum rates of population growth. Because all data are georeferenced and date stamped, they can be coupled with information from other databases and spatial layers to explore the potential effects of rabbit occurrence and abundance on Australia's native wildlife and agricultural production. The Australian National Rabbit Database is an important tool for understanding and managing the European rabbit in its invasive range and its effects on native biodiversity and agricultural production. It also provides a valuable resource for addressing questions related to the biology, success, and impacts of invasive species more generally. No copyright or proprietary restrictions are associated with the use of this data set other than citation of this Data Paper.
demography, European rabbit, historic climate data, invasive species management, long-term monitoring data, occupancy, Oryctolagus cuniculus, population abundance, weather