A novel metric reveals biotic resistance potential and informs predictions of invasion success

Ross N. Cuthbert*, Amanda Callaghan, Jaimie T.A. Dick

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)
28 Downloads (Pure)


Invasive species continue to proliferate and detrimentally impact ecosystems on a global scale. Whilst impacts are well-documented for many invaders, we lack tools to predict biotic resistance and invasion success. Biotic resistance from communities may be a particularly important determinant of the success of invaders. The present study develops traditional ecological concepts to better understand and quantify biotic resistance. We quantified predation towards the highly invasive Asian tiger mosquito Aedes albopictus and a representative native mosquito Culex pipiens by three native and widespread cyclopoid copepods, using functional response and prey switching experiments. All copepods demonstrated higher magnitude type II functional responses towards the invasive prey over the analogous native prey, aligned with higher attack and maximum feeding rates. All predators exhibited significant, frequency-independent prey preferences for the invader. With these results, we developed a novel metric for biotic resistance which integrates predator numerical response proxies, revealing differential biotic resistance potential among predators. Our results are consistent with field patterns of biotic resistance and invasion success, illustrating the predictive capacity of our methods. We thus propose the further development of traditional ecological concepts, such as functional responses, numerical responses and prey switching, in the evaluation of biotic resistance and invasion success.

Original languageEnglish
Article number15314
Number of pages11
JournalScientific Reports
Publication statusPublished - 25 Oct 2019

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We acknowledge funding from the Department for the Economy, Northern Ireland and the Natural Environment Research Council. This publication was supported by the project, Research Infrastructures for the control of vector-borne diseases (lnfravec2), which has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No. 731060. We also acknowledge The Pirbright Institute under BBSRC project code BBS/E/I/00007039. Thanks to Marie Russell for stimulating discussion.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019, The Author(s).

Copyright 2019 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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