Environmental Productivity and Biodiversity Effects on Invertebrate Community Invasibility
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Productivity influences the availability of resources for colonizing species. Biodiversity may also influence invasibility of communities because of more complete use of resource types with increasing species richness. We hypothesized that communities with higher environmental productivity and lower species richness should be more invasible by a competitor than those where productivity is low or where richness is high. We experimentally examined the invasion resistance of herbivorous meiofauna of Jamaican rock pools by a competitor crustacean (Ostracoda: Potamocypris sp. (Brady)) by contrasting three levels of nutrient input and four levels of species richness. Although relative abundance (dominance) of the invasive was largely unaffected by resource availability, increasing resources did increase the success rate of establishment. Effects of species richness on dominance were more pronounced with a trend towards the lowest species richness treatment of 2 resident species being more invasible than those with 4, 6, or 7 species. These results can be attributed to a ‘sampling effect associated with the introduction of Alona davidii (Richard) into the higher biodiversity treatments. Alona dominated the communities where it established and precluded dominance by the introduced ostracod. Our experimental study supports the idea that niche availability and community interactions define community invasibility and does not support the application of a neutral community model for local food web management where predictions of exotic species impacts are needed.
Keywordsbiodiversity-invasion relationships meiofauna niche resource availability sampling effect
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