Benthic assemblages associated with native and non-native oysters are similar
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Invasive species can impact native species and alter assemblage structure, which affects associated ecosystem functioning. The pervasive Pacific oyster, Crassostrea gigas, has been shown to affect the diversity and composition of many host ecosystems. We tested for effects of the presence of the invasive C. gigas on native assemblages by comparing them directly to assemblages associated with the declining native European oyster, Ostrea edulis. The presence of both oyster species was manipulated in intertidal and subtidal habitats and reefs were constructed at horizontal and vertical orientation to the substratum. After 12 months, species diversity and benthic assemblage structure between assemblages with C. gigas and O. edulis were similar, but differed between habitats and orientation, suggesting that both oyster species were functionally similar in terms of biodiversity facilitation. These findings support evidence, that non-native species could play an important role in maintaining biodiversity in systems with declining populations of native species.