Biological Invasions

, Volume 15, Issue 4, pp 837–846 | Cite as

Ecological impacts of an invasive predator explained and predicted by comparative functional responses

  • Jaimie T. A. Dick
  • Kevin Gallagher
  • Suncica Avlijas
  • Hazel C. Clarke
  • Susan E. Lewis
  • Sally Leung
  • Dan Minchin
  • Joe Caffrey
  • Mhairi E. Alexander
  • Cathy Maguire
  • Chris Harrod
  • Neil Reid
  • Neal R. Haddaway
  • Keith D. Farnsworth
  • Marcin Penk
  • Anthony Ricciardi
Original Paper

Abstract

Forecasting the ecological impacts of invasive species is a major challenge that has seen little progress, yet the development of robust predictive approaches is essential as new invasion threats continue to emerge. A common feature of ecologically damaging invaders is their ability to rapidly exploit and deplete resources. We thus hypothesized that the ‘functional response’ (the relationship between resource density and consumption rate) of such invasive species might be of consistently greater magnitude than those of taxonomically and/or trophically similar native species. Here, we derived functional responses of the predatory Ponto-Caspian freshwater ‘bloody red’ shrimp, Hemimysis anomala, a recent and ecologically damaging invader in Europe and N. America, in comparison to the local native analogues Mysis salemaai and Mysis diluviana in Ireland and Canada, respectively. This was conducted in a novel set of experiments involving multiple prey species in each geographic location and a prey species that occurs in both regions. The predatory functional responses of the invader were generally higher than those of the comparator native species and this difference was consistent across invaded regions. Moreover, those prey species characterized by the strongest and potentially de-stabilizing Type II functional responses in our laboratory experiments were the same prey species found to be most impacted by H. anomala in the field. The impact potential of H. anomala was further indicated when it exhibited similar or higher attack rates, consistently lower prey handling times and higher maximum feeding rates compared to those of the two Mysis species, formerly known as ‘Mysis relicta’, which itself has an extensive history of foodweb disruption in lakes to which it has been introduced. Comparative functional responses thus merit further exploration as a methodology for predicting severe community-level impacts of current and future invasive species and could be entered into risk assessment protocols.

Keywords

Biological invasion Ecological impact Functional response Prediction Risk assessment 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jaimie T. A. Dick
    • 1
  • Kevin Gallagher
    • 1
  • Suncica Avlijas
    • 2
  • Hazel C. Clarke
    • 1
  • Susan E. Lewis
    • 3
  • Sally Leung
    • 1
  • Dan Minchin
    • 4
  • Joe Caffrey
    • 5
  • Mhairi E. Alexander
    • 1
  • Cathy Maguire
    • 1
  • Chris Harrod
    • 1
    • 6
  • Neil Reid
    • 1
  • Neal R. Haddaway
    • 7
  • Keith D. Farnsworth
    • 1
  • Marcin Penk
    • 8
  • Anthony Ricciardi
    • 2
  1. 1.School of Biological SciencesQueen’s University BelfastBelfastUK
  2. 2.Redpath MuseumMcGill UniversityMontrealCanada
  3. 3.Carroll UniversityWaukeshaUSA
  4. 4.The Coastal Research and Planning InstituteUniversity of KlaipedaKlaipedaLithuania
  5. 5.Inland Fisheries IrelandSwords, Co. DublinIreland
  6. 6.Instituto de Investigaciones OceanológicasUniversidad de AntofagastaAntofagastaChile
  7. 7.Institute of Integrative and Comparative Biology, Faculty of Biological SciencesUniversity of LeedsLeedsUK
  8. 8.School of Natural SciencesTrinity College DublinDublinIreland

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