Non-native plants have greater impacts because of differing per-capita effects and nonlinear abundance–impact curves

Ian S. Pearse, Helen R. Sofaer, David N. Zaya, Greg Spyreas

Research output: Contribution to journalLetter

Abstract

Invasive, non-native species can have tremendous impacts on biotic communities, where they reduce the abundance and diversity of local species. However, it remains unclear whether impacts of non-native species arise from their high abundance or whether each non-native individual has a disproportionate impact – that is, a higher per-capita effect – on co-occurring species compared to impacts by native species. Using a long-term study of wetlands, we asked how temporal variation in dominant native and non-native plants impacted the abundance and richness of other plants in the recipient community. Non-native plants reached higher abundances than natives and had greater per-capita effects. The abundance–impact relationship between plant abundance and richness was nonlinear. Compared with increasing native abundance, increasing non-native abundance was associated with steeper declines in richness because of greater per-capita effects and nonlinearities in the abundance–impact relationship. Our study supports eco-evolutionary novelty of non-natives as a driver of their outsized impacts on communities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1214-1220
Number of pages7
JournalEcology Letters
Volume22
Issue number8
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 2019

Keywords

  • Abundance–Impact Curves
  • community assembly
  • eco-evolutionary novelty
  • invasive species impacts
  • longitudinal analysis
  • per-capita effects
  • wetlands

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics

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