Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Complex community responses underpin biodiversity change following invasion.

Abstract

How do invasive species change native biodiversity? One reason why this long-standing question remains challenging to answer could be because the main focus of the invasion literature has been on shifts in species richness (a measure of α-diversity). As the underlying components of community structure-intraspecific aggregation, interspecific density and the species abundance distribution (SAD)-are potentially impacted in different ways during invasion, trends in species richness provide only limited insight into the mechanisms leading to biodiversity change. In addition, these impacts can be manifested in distinct ways at different spatial scales. Here we take advantage of the new Measurement of Biodiversity (MoB) framework to reanalyse data collected in an invasion front in the Brazilian Cerrado biodiversity hotspot. We show that, by using the MoB multi-scale approach, we are able to link reductions in species richness in invaded sites to restructuring in the SAD. This restructuring takes the form of lower evenness in sites invaded by pines relative to sites without pines. Shifts in aggregation also occur. There is a clear signature of spatial scale in biodiversity change linked to the presence of an invasive species. These results demonstrate how the MoB approach can play an important role in helping invasion ecologists, field biologists and conservation managers move towards a more mechanistic approach to detecting and interpreting changes in ecological systems following invasion.