Environmental stress responses in sympatric congeneric crustaceans: explaining and predicting the context-dependencies of invader impacts.
The role of ecophysiology in mediating marine biological pollution is poorly known. Here we explore how physiological plasticity to environmental stress can explain and predict the context-dependencies of invasive species impacts. We use the case of two sympatric skeleton shrimps, the invader Caprella scaura and its congener C. equilibra, which is currently replaced by the former on the South European coast. We compare their physiological responses to hyposalinity stress under suboptimal low and high temperature, while inferring on hypoxia tolerance. We use an energy-redox approach, analyzing mortality rate, the energetic balance and the consequent effects on the oxidative homeostasis. We found that decreased seawater salinity and/or oxygen levels can weaken biotic resistance, especially in females of C. equilibra, leading to periods of heightened vulnerability to invasion. Our approach provides mechanistic insights towards understanding the factors promoting invader impacts, highlighting the potential of ecophysiology for improving invasive species management.