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Biotic resistance in freshwater fish communities
Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Department of Ecology and Environmental Sciences.
2015 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Invasions of non-native species cause problems in ecosystems worldwide, and despite the extensive effort that has been put into research about invasions, we still lack a good understanding for why some, but not other, communities resist these invasions. In this doctoral thesis I test hypotheses on biotic resistance using a large dataset of more than 1000 both failed and successful introductions of freshwater fish into Swedish lakes. We have found that the classic species richness hypothesis is a poor descriptor of introduction success because it fails to acknowledge that resident species contribute to the resistance in different ways. We developed a new measure of biotic resistance, the weighted species richness, which takes into account that the resident species contributes to the resistance with different strength and sign. Further, we correlated performance traits of species in their role as an invader and as a resident species to predict how the biotic resistance of these communities would develop over time. We found a positive correlation between performance traits: Some species have high introduction success, they make a large contribution to the resistance, and they cause extinctions when introduced but do not go extinct themselves when other species establishes, whereas other species are weak performers in these respects. Thus, the biotic resistance of these communities should grow stronger as non-native species accumulates. These results give us clues about what type of communities that should be most sensitive to further invasions, i.e., communities harboring species weak performers. 

My results show that the biotic resistance of communities is an important factor in determining invasibility of a community. They also show that methods for quantifying resistance must take into account how interactions are structured in nature. What determine the biotic resistance of a community is the type of interactions that the resident species have with the invader and not the species richness of the community.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Umeå universitet , 2015. , 26 p.
Keyword [en]
biotic resistance, freshwater fish, introductions, invasions, invasion success, invasibility, invasiveness, species richness, saturation, species identity, weighted species richness
National Category
Ecology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-110251ISBN: 978-91-7601-326-7 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-110251DiVA: diva2:861777
Public defence
2015-11-12, Naturvetarhuset, N320, Umeå, 10:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2015-10-22 Created: 2015-10-19 Last updated: 2015-11-13Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Biotic resistance in freshwater fish communities: species richness, saturation or species identity?
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Biotic resistance in freshwater fish communities: species richness, saturation or species identity?
2015 (English)In: Oikos, ISSN 0030-1299, E-ISSN 1600-0706, Vol. 124, no 8, 1058-1064 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Some communities are susceptible to invasions and some are not. Why? Elton suggested in 1958 that the ability of the community to withstand invading species - its biotic resistance - depends on the number of resident species. Later contributors have emphasized the habitat's ability to support species, as well as the contribution of individual species to the resistance. In this study we use information from 184 introductions of Arctic char into Swedish lakes to study both abiotic and biotic aspects of the resident community's ability to resist introductions. We find that the best model included the proportion of forest cover and the proportion of agricultural land cover in the watershed in combination with the presence versus absence of northern pike. Thus, the most important biotic factor to explain the outcome of introductions of Arctic char is the presence of northern pike, a large piscivore. This means that one single species explains the outcome of the introductions better than does the species richness or the saturation level of the community.

National Category
Ecology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-107853 (URN)10.1111/oik.01700 (DOI)000359058600010 ()
Available from: 2015-10-08 Created: 2015-08-28 Last updated: 2017-12-01Bibliographically approved
2. Weighted species richness outperforms species richness as predictor of biotic resistance
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Weighted species richness outperforms species richness as predictor of biotic resistance
Show others...
2016 (English)In: Ecology, ISSN 0012-9658, E-ISSN 1939-9170, Vol. 97, no 1, 262-271 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The species richness hypothesis, which predicts that species-rich communities should be better at resisting invasions than species-poor communities, has been empirically tested many times and often poorly supported. In this paper we contrast the species richness hypothesis with four alternative hypotheses with the aim of finding better descriptors of invasion resistance. These alternative hypotheses state that resistance to invasions is determined by abiotic conditions, community saturation (i.e., the number of resident species relative to the maximum number of species that can be supported), presence/absence of key species, or weighted species richness. Weighted species richness is a weighted sum of the number of species, where each species' weight describes its contribution to resistance. We tested these hypotheses using data on the success of 571 introductions of four freshwater fish species into lakes throughout Sweden (i.e., Arctic char (Salvelinus alpinus), tench (Tinca tinca), zander (Sander lucioperca), and whitefish (Coregonus lavaretus)). We found that the weighted species richness best predicted invasion success. The weights describing the contribution of each resident species to community resistance varied considerably in both strength and sign. Positive resistance weights, which indicate that species repel invaders, were as common as negative resistance weights, which indicate facilitative interactions. This result can be contrasted with the implicit assumption of the original species richness hypothesis, that all resident species have negative effects on invader success. We argue that this assumption is unlikely to be true in natural communities, and thus that we expect that weighted species richness is a better predictor of invader success than the actual number of resident species.

Keyword
biotic resistance, freshwater fish, species identity, species richness, saturation, weighted species richness
National Category
Ecology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-110249 (URN)10.1890/15-0463.1 (DOI)000369852600027 ()
Available from: 2015-10-19 Created: 2015-10-19 Last updated: 2017-12-01Bibliographically approved
3. Strong invaders are strong defenders: implications for the resistance of invaded communities
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Strong invaders are strong defenders: implications for the resistance of invaded communities
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2016 (English)In: Ecology Letters, ISSN 1461-023X, E-ISSN 1461-0248, Vol. 19, no 4, 487-494 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Many ecosystems receive a steady stream of non-native species. How biotic resistance develops over time in these ecosystems will depend on how established invaders contribute to subsequent resistance. If invasion success and defence capacity (i.e. contribution to resistance) are correlated, then community resistance should increase as species accumulate. If successful invaders also cause most impact (through replacing native species with low defence capacity) then the effect will be even stronger. If successful invaders instead have weak defence capacity or even facilitative attributes, then resistance should decrease with time, as proposed by the invasional meltdown hypothesis. We analysed 1157 introductions of freshwater fish in Swedish lakes and found that species' invasion success was positively correlated with their defence capacity and impact, suggesting that these communities will develop stronger resistance over time. These insights can be used to identify scenarios where invading species are expected to cause large impact.

Keyword
biotic resistance, freshwater fish, introductions, interaction hierarchies, strong invaders, strong defenders, invasions
National Category
Ecology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-110248 (URN)10.1111/ele.12586 (DOI)000372654800015 ()
Note

Originally included in thesis in manuscript form.

Available from: 2015-10-19 Created: 2015-10-19 Last updated: 2017-12-01Bibliographically approved
4. Failed and successful introductions of fish species into 821 Swedish lakes
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Failed and successful introductions of fish species into 821 Swedish lakes
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Introductions of fish into lakes can be viewed as whole system experiments, which can be used to study the principles of community assembly and factors determining the outcome of species invasions. Freshwater fish species have been translocated by humans for centuries in Sweden and this activity has been documented by national and regional authorities starting at the end of the 19th century. Based on this documentation and additional interviews with local fishermen we have compiled a dataset that includes 1158 introductions of 26 freshwater fish species into 821 Swedish lakes. The data includes both successful and failed introductions; where a successful introduction means that the introduced fish species was present in the lake for ≥20 years or that reproduction was observed earlier than that. The oldest introduction is from 1658 and the latest from 2002. Additionally, the dataset includes species composition, temperature sum, maximum temperature, lake area, elevation, longitude and latitude for all lakes. This data has been used to test hypotheses about biotic resistance and invasion success in three papers. We found the presence or absence of specific species predicted invasion success better than the species richness of the lakes. We also found that species with high invasion success tend to make a large contribution to biotic resistance, which will make communities more resistant in the future as they are invaded by additional species.

Keyword
freshwater fish; introductions; invasions; biotic resistance; Sweden; invasion success, invasibility, invasiveness
National Category
Ecology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-110250 (URN)
Available from: 2015-10-19 Created: 2015-10-19 Last updated: 2015-10-20

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