MEPS 495:39-47 (2014)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/meps10566

Impacts of marine invaders on biodiversity depend on trophic position and functional similarity

Mads S. Thomsen1,2,*, James E. Byers3, David R. Schiel1, John F. Bruno4, Julian D. Olden5, Thomas Wernberg2,6, Brian R. Silliman7

1Marine Ecology Research Group, School of Biological Sciences, University of Canterbury, Private Bag 4800, Christchurch, New Zealand
2UWA Oceans Institute and School of Plant Biology, University of Western Australia, Hackett Drive, Crawley, Western Australia 6009, Australia
3Odum School of Ecology, University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia 30602, USA
4Department of Biology, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina 27599, USA
5School of Aquatic & Fishery Sciences, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington 98195, USA
6Australian Institute of Marine Science, 39 Fairway, Crawley, Western Australia 6009, Australia
7Division of Marine Science and Conservation, Nicholas School of the Environment, Duke University, Durham, North Carolina 27708, USA
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: Impacts of marine invaders on local biodiversity have not been analyzed across invasive species and invaded habitats. We conducted a meta-analysis of 56 field experiments published in 29 papers that examined the effects of marine invaders on local species richness, diversity, and/or evenness. We show that invaders, across studies, typically have negative effects on biodiversity within a trophic level but positive effects on biodiversity of higher trophic levels. For example, both plants and sessile filter-feeders had positive effects on richness and diversity of mobile consumers. The contrasting negative and positive effects on similar versus higher trophic levels are potentially manifested through community-wide antagonism (competition and consumption) versus facilitation (habitat and food provisioning) interactions, respectively. These relationships extended to functional interactions, as sessile invaders had negative effects on the biodiversity of sessile communities (intra-functional interactions) but positive effects on the biodiversity of mobile communities (inter-functional interactions). Our analyses highlight the importance of pairing attributes of the invader and the impacted organisms to obtain simple predictions of how the diversity of entire communities may respond to species invasions on local scales. We also note that our analysis did not require information on co-evolutionary history but that such data, coupled with long-term large-scale mensurative data, are needed to gain a comprehensive predictive insight into invasion impact.


KEY WORDS: Invasive species · Impact analysis · Diversity · Richness · Evenness · Meta-analysis · Attribute matching


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Cite this article as: Thomsen MS, Byers JE, Schiel DR, Bruno JF, Olden JD, Wernberg T, Silliman BR (2014) Impacts of marine invaders on biodiversity depend on trophic position and functional similarity. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 495:39-47. https://doi.org/10.3354/meps10566

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