Biotic resistance of impact: a native predator (Chaoborus) influences the impact of an invasive predator (Bythotrephes) in temperate lakes.
Introduced predators have caused some of the largest documented impacts of non-native species. Interactions among predators can have complex effects, leading to both synergistic and antagonistic outcomes. Complex interactions with native predators could play an important role in mediating the impact of non-native predators. We explore the role of the native predator context on the effect of the introduced predatory cladoceran Bythotrephes longimanus. While post-invasion impacts have been well described, studies have largely ignored the role of native predators. We used a field mesocosm experiment to determine whether Bythotrephes' impact on prey communities is influenced by the presence of the ubiquitous native predatory insect larvae Chaoborus. The two predators exhibited niche complementarity as no change in total zooplankton prey abundance was detected across predator treatments. Rather, copepod abundances increased with decreasing abundances of Chaoborus, while cladocerans decreased with increasing abundances of Bythotrephes. Thus, the replacement of Chaoborus with Bythotrephes led to changes in the overall community structure of the zooplankton prey, but had little effect on prey total abundance. More interestingly, we found evidence of biotic resistance of impact, that is, the impact of Bythotrephes on the cladoceran community was altered when the two predators co-occurred. Specifically, the predation effect of Bythotrephes was more restricted to the shallower regions of the water column in the presence of Chaoborus, leading to a reduced impact on deeper dwelling prey taxa. Overall, our results demonstrate that the native predator context is important when trying to understand the effect of non-native predators and that variation in native predator abundances and assemblages could explain variation in impact across invaded habitats.