Biological Invasions

, Volume 1, Issue 1, pp 21-32

First online:

Positive Interactions of Nonindigenous Species: Invasional Meltdown?

  • Daniel SimberloffAffiliated withDepartment of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Tennessee
  • , Betsy Von HolleAffiliated withDepartment of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Tennessee

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Study of interactions between pairs or larger groups of nonindigenous species has been subordinated in the literature to study of interactions between nonindigenous and native species. To the extent that interactions among introduced species are depicted at all, the emphasis has been on negative interactions, primarily resource competition and interference. However, a literature search reveals that introduced species frequently interact with one another and that facilitative interactions are at least as common as detrimental ones. The population significance of these interactions has rarely been determined, but a great variety of types of direct and indirect interactions among individuals of different nonindigenous species is observed, and many are plausibly believed to have consequences at the population level. In particular, mutualisms between plants and the animals that disperse and/or pollinate them and modification of habitat by both animals and plants seem common and often important in facilitating invasions. There is little evidence that interference among introduced species at levels currently observed significantly impedes further invasions, and synergistic interactions among invaders may well lead to accelerated impacts on native ecosystems – an invasional ‘meltdown’ process.

biotic resistance dispersal agent facilitation habitat modification indirect effects mutualism pollination synergism