Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

How strong is the effect of invasive ecosystem engineers on the distribution patterns of local species, the local and regional biodiversity and ecosystem functions?

Abstract

Background: One of the most influential forms of biological invasions is that of invasive ecosystem engineers, species that affect other biota via alterations to the abiotic environment. Such species can have wide-reaching consequences because they alter ecosystems and essentially "change the rules of existence" for a broad suite of resident biota. They thus affect resources or stressors that affect other organisms. The objective of this systematic review will be to quantify the positive and negative impacts of invasive ecosystem engineers on ecosystem structure and functioning, and to identify factors that cause their effects to vary. Methods: We will search a number of online databases to gather empirical evidence from the literature on the impacts of invasive ecosystem engineers on: (1) species richness and other univariate and multivariate measures of biodiversity; (2) productivity and abundance of algae, and animals; and (3) biogeochemical cycling and other flows of energy and materials, including trophic interactions. Data from relevant studies will be extracted and used in a random effects meta-analysis in order to estimate the average effect size of invasive ecosystem engineers on each response of interest.