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Contrasting ecological impacts of geographically close invasive populations


Intraspecific trait variability is now well recognized as a key component of biodiversity explaining how individuals within a species can differentially interact with their environment. To date, however, this concept has rarely been incorporated in the study of biological invasions, despite its provision of new insights into invasive species management. Here, we used an experimental approach to investigate how invasive red swamp crayfish (Procambarus clarkii) derived from geographically close ecosystems can differentially impact prey community structure and relevant ecosystem processes. We also compared the magnitude of the effects induced by invasive species introduction with those induced by intraspecific variability. Our results showed that effects of intraspecific variability can be strong for direct interactions such as resource (e.g., leaf litter, snails) consumption and of similar magnitude to the effects induced by the introduction of the invasive species when considering indirect interactions (e.g., primary production, ecosystem metabolism). Overall, these results highlighted that invasive populations of the same species are not ecologically equivalent, with each population acting differently on their recipient ecosystem.

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We are very grateful to Serge Boutes for access to the experiment site, and to Maria Alp, Rémy Lassus, Carine Rigolet and Libor Závorka for their help during the experiment. We also thank two anonymous reviewers and editors for their constructive comments on previous version of the manuscript.


This work was supported by the ONEMA (Projets ISOLAC and ERADINVA) and a PRES-Toulouse Grant (Inva_Eco_Evo_Lac).

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CE, AL and JC conceived and designed the experiment. CE led the experiment. CE and AL performed the statistical analyses. CE, AL and JC wrote the manuscript.

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Correspondence to C. Evangelista.

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The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


Authorizations to perform this study were provided by the “Arrêté Préfectoral—from 18/09/2015 to 30/10/2015”.

Additional information

Communicated by Leon A. Barmuta.

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Supplementary material 1 (PDF 102 kb)

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Evangelista, C., Cucherousset, J. & Lecerf, A. Contrasting ecological impacts of geographically close invasive populations. Oecologia 189, 529–536 (2019).

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  • Biological invasions
  • Intraspecific variation
  • Ecosystem functioning
  • Procambarus clarkii
  • Ecological impacts