Biotic homogenization is the increased similarity of biotas over time caused by the replacement of native species with nonindigenous species, usually as a result of introductions by humans. Homogenization is the outcome of three interacting processes: introductions of nonnative species, extirpation of native species, and habitat alterations that facilitate these two processes. A central aspect of the homogenization process is the ability of species to overcome natural biogeographic barriers either through intentional transport by humans or through colonization routes created by human activities. Habitat homogenization through reservoir construction contributes to biotic homogenization as local riverine faunas are replaced with cosmopolitan lentic species. The homogenization process has generally increased biodiversity in most freshwater faunas, as the establishment of new species has outpaced the extinction of native species. There are important exceptions, however, where the establishment of nonindigenous species has had devastating impacts on endemic species. The homogenization process appears likely to continue, although it could be slowed through reductions in the rate of invasions and extirpations and by rehabilitating aquatic habitats so as to favor native species.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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