Biological Invasions

, Volume 19, Issue 5, pp 1677–1678

Fictional responses from Vonesh et al.

  • Jaimie T. A. Dick
  • Mhairi E. Alexander
  • Anthony Ricciardi
  • Ciaran Laverty
  • Paul O. Downey
  • Meng Xu
  • Jonathan M. Jeschke
  • Wolf-Christian Saul
  • Matthew P. Hill
  • Ryan Wasserman
  • Daniel Barrios-O’Neill
  • Olaf L. F. Weyl
  • Richard H. Shaw
Open Access
RESPONSE

DOI: 10.1007/s10530-016-1360-6

Cite this article as:
Dick, J.T.A., Alexander, M.E., Ricciardi, A. et al. Biol Invasions (2017) 19: 1677. doi:10.1007/s10530-016-1360-6

Vonesh et al. (2017) in their critique of Dick et al. (2017) erect a straw man with their thought experiment; they look for reasons why comparative functional response (CFR) might fail, when CFR clearly and repeatedly succeeds. We can view CFR as a hypothesis that posits “differences in magnitude, or shape, of invader/native FRs explain and predict invader ecological impact”. We can test this hypothesis with a mini-meta-analysis: in 18 out of 22 study systems, and 39 of 47 individual CFR studies, FRs of known damaging invaders are significantly higher than FRs of native counterparts (Dick et al. in press). These systems consider 1–5 pairwise resource comparisons; large numbers are not needed for CFR to have high explanatory and predictive power (and practical utility in targeted studies). Vonesh et al. (2017) list reasons why CFR studies should fail: differing conversion efficiencies, mortality, interference, body size, density—yet in the face of these (likely) differences, CFR remains highly predictive. We agree that refining CFR is desirable; this is achieved by incorporating relative invader:native abundances, a proxy for numerical responses, which captures differential conversion efficiencies, plus aggregative and reproductive responses (see Dick et al. in press). This improves the predictive capacity of CFR as, for example, relatively low invader per capita effects can be multiplied by relatively high abundances. CFR also provides mechanistic and predictive assessments applicable to emerging and potential invaders, specifically what invasion history and impact indices cannot achieve.

Finally, it is disappointing that Vonesh et al. (2017) ignored the true essence and thrust of Dick et al.’s advocacy, that CFR provides a testable hypothesis that can truly unify invasion ecology across taxonomic/trophic groups and habitats. We thus finish with our own thought experiment: would the FR (with/without comparators) of any invasive species (actual or potential) be unmeasurable or uninformative?

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2017

Open AccessThis article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jaimie T. A. Dick
    • 1
  • Mhairi E. Alexander
    • 2
  • Anthony Ricciardi
    • 3
  • Ciaran Laverty
    • 1
  • Paul O. Downey
    • 4
  • Meng Xu
    • 5
  • Jonathan M. Jeschke
    • 6
    • 7
    • 8
  • Wolf-Christian Saul
    • 6
    • 7
    • 8
  • Matthew P. Hill
    • 9
  • Ryan Wasserman
    • 10
    • 11
  • Daniel Barrios-O’Neill
    • 1
  • Olaf L. F. Weyl
    • 10
    • 11
  • Richard H. Shaw
    • 12
  1. 1.Institute for Global Food Security, School of Biological SciencesQueen’s University BelfastBelfastNorthern Ireland, UK
  2. 2.School of Science and SportUniversity of the West of ScotlandPaisleyUK
  3. 3.Redpath MuseumMcGill UniversityMontrealCanada
  4. 4.Institute for Applied EcologyUniversity of CanberraBruceAustralia
  5. 5.Pearl River Fisheries Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Fishery Sciences/Key Laboratory of Tropical and Subtropical Fishery Resource Application and CultivationMinistry of AgricultureGuangzhouChina
  6. 6.Leibniz-Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries (IGB)BerlinGermany
  7. 7.Department of Biology, Chemistry Pharmacy, Institute of BiologyFreie Universität BerlinBerlinGermany
  8. 8.Berlin-Brandenburg Institute of Advanced Biodiversity Research (BBIB)BerlinGermany
  9. 9.Centre for Invasion BiologyStellenbosch UniversityMatielandSouth Africa
  10. 10.South African Institute for Aquatic Biodiversity (SAIAB)GrahamstownSouth Africa
  11. 11.Centre for Invasion BiologySouth African Institute for Aquatic Biodiversity (SAIAB)GrahamstownSouth Africa
  12. 12.CABI UKEghamUK

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