Species identity and diversity effects on invasion resistance of tropical freshwater plant communities.
Biotic resistance mediated by native plant diversity has long been hypothesized to reduce the success of invading plant species in terrestrial systems in temperate regions. However, still little is known about the mechanisms driving invasion patterns in other biomes or latitudes. We help to fill this gap by investigating how native plant community presence and diversity, and the presence of native phylogenetically closely related species to an invader, would affect invader Hydrilla verticillata establishment success in tropical freshwater submerged plant communities. The presence of a native community suppressed the growth of H. verticillata, but did not prevent its colonisation. Invader growth was negatively affected by native plant productivity, but independent of native species richness and phylogenetic relatedness to the invader. Native plant production was not related to native species richness in our study. We show that resistance in these tropical aquatic submerged plant communities is mainly driven by the presence and biomass of a native community independent of native species diversity. Our study illustrates that resistance provided by these tropical freshwater submerged plant communities to invasive species contrasts to resistance described for other ecosystems. This emphasizes the need to include understudied systems when predicting patterns of species invasiveness and ecosystem invasibility across biomes.