Biotic resistance to invasion is ubiquitous across ecosystems of the United States

Published on (GMT) by Evelyn Beaury
Authors: Evelyn M. Beaury, John T. Finn, Jeffrey D. Corbin, Valerie Barr, Bethany A. Bradley. Publication Date: 2019. Keywords: invasive species, non-native species, biotic resistance, diversity-invasibility hypothesis, biogeography, conservation, biodiversity, plant ecology. Abstract: The biotic resistance hypothesis predicts that diverse native communities are more resistant to invasion. However, past studies vary in their support for this hypothesis due to an apparent contradiction between experimental studies, which support biotic resistance, and observational studies, which find that native and non-native species richness are positively related at broad scales (small scale studies are more variable). Here, we present a novel analysis of the biotic resistance hypothesis using 24,456 observations of plant richness spanning four community types and seven ecoregions of the United States. Non-native plant occurrence was negatively related to native plant richness across all community types and ecoregions, although the strength of biotic resistance varied across different ecological, anthropogenic, and climatic contexts. Our results strongly support the biotic resistance hypothesis, thus reconciling differences between experimental and observational studies and providing evidence for the shared benefits between invasive species management and native biodiversity conservation.
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