It is prevalent to use ecological niche models in the analysis of species expansion and niche changes. However, it is difficult to estimate the niche when alien species fail to establish in exotic areas. Here, we applied the tolerance niche concept, which means that niche of species can live and grow but preclude a species from establishing self-sustaining populations, in such fail-to-establish events. Taking the rapidly expanded bird, Asian openbill (Anastomus oscitans), as a model species, we investigated niche dynamics and its potential effects on the population by Niche A and ecospat, predicted potential distribution by biomod2. Results showed that niche expansion has occurred in two non-native populations caused by the tolerance of colder and wetter environments, and potential distribution mainly concentrated on equatorial islands. Our study suggested that the expanded niche belongs to tolerance niche concept according to the populations' dynamics and GPS tracking evidence. It is essential to consider source populations when we analyse the alien species. We recommended more consideration to the application of tolerance niche in alien species research, and there is still a need for standard measurement frameworks for analysing the tolerance niche.
National Natural Science Foundation of China, Award: 31460166