Invasive species contribute to biotic resistance: negative effect of caprellid amphipods on an invasive tunicate.
As the number of introductions of non-indigenous species (NIS) continues to rise, ecologists are faced with new and unique opportunities to observe interactions between species that do not naturally co-exist. These interactions can have important implications on the invasion process, potentially determining whether NIS become widespread and abundant, survive in small numbers, or fail to establish and disappear. Although many studies have naturally focused on the interactions between NIS and native species to examine their effects and the biological resistance of the recipient community to invasion, few have examined the effects that NIS have on each other. In some cases, interactions can facilitate the invasion process of one or both species (i.e., "invasional meltdowns"), but competition or predation can lead to negative interactions as well. The introduction of the vase tunicate, Ciona intestinalis, in Prince Edward Island (Canada) has harmed mussel aquaculture via heavy biofouling of equipment and mussels. Through both a broad-scale survey and small-scale field experiments, we show that Ciona recruitment is drastically reduced by caprellid amphipods, including the NIS Caprella mutica. This study provides an exciting example of how established invasive species can negatively impact the recruitment of a secondary invader, highlighting the potential for non-additive effects of multiple invasions.