Native fish diversity alters the effects of an invasive species on food webs

Michael P. Carey, David H Wahl

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Aquatic communities have been altered by invasive species, with impacts on native biodiversity and ecosystem function. At the same time, native biodiversity may mitigate the effects of an invader. Common carp (Cyprinus carpio) is a ubiquitous, invasive fish species that strongly influences community and ecosystem processes. We used common carp to test whether the potential effects of an invasive species are altered across a range of species diversity in native communities. in mesocosms, treatments of zero, one, three, and six native fish species were used to represent the nested subset patterns observed in fish communities of lakes in Illinois, USA. The effect of the invader was tested across fish richness treatments by adding common carp to the native community and substituting native biomass with common carp. Native species and intraspecific effects reduced invader growth. The invader reduced native fish growth; however, the negative effect was minimized with increasing native richness. The zooplankton grazer community was modified by a top-down effect from the invader that increased the amount of phytoplankton. Neither the invader nor richness treatments influenced total phosphorus or community metabolism. Overall, the invader reduced resources for native species, and the effect scaled with how the invader was incorporated into the community. Higher native diversity mitigated the impact of the invader, confirming the need to consider biodiversity when predicting the impacts of invasive species.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2965-2974
Number of pages10
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1 2010


  • Biodiversity
  • Common carp
  • Cyprinus carpio
  • Food webs
  • Illinois, USA
  • Invasion
  • Invasive species

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics


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