Advancing biological invasion hypothesis testing using functional diversity indices

David Renault, Manon Hess, Julie Braschi, Ross N. Cuthbert, Marta Sperandii, Manuele Bazzichetto, Olivier Chabrerie, Gabrielle Thiébaut, Elise Buisson, Frédéric Grandjean, Anne-Kristel Bittebiere, Maud Mouchet, François Massol

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34 Citations (Scopus)
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Pioneering investigations on the effects of introduced populations on community structure, ecosystem functioning and services have focused on the effects of invaders on taxonomic diversity. However, taxonomic-based diversity metrics overlook the heterogeneity of species roles within and among communities. As the homogenizing effects of biological invasions on community and ecosystem processes can be subtle, they may require the use of functional diversity indices to be properly evidenced. Starting from the listing of the main used functional diversity indices, alongside with the presentation of their strengths and limitations, we further focus on studies pertaining to the effects of invasive species on native communities and recipient ecosystems obtained using functional diversity indices. By doing so, we reveal that functional diversity of the recipient community may strongly vary at the onset of the invasion process, while it stabilizes at intermediate and high levels of invasion. As functional changes occurring during the lag phase of an invasion have been poorly investigated, we show that it is still unknown if there are consistent changes in functional diversity metrics that could indicate the end of the lag phase. Thus, we highly recommend to provide information on the invasion stage under consideration when computing functional diversity metrics. For the existing literature, it is also surprising that very few studies explored the functional difference between organisms from the recipient communities and invaders of the same trophic levels, or assessed the effects of non-native organism establishment into a non-analogue versus an analogue community. By providing valuable tools for obtaining in-depth diagnostics of community structure and functioning, functional diversity indices valuable tools for on-time implementation of restoration plans and improved conservation strategies. To conclude, our work provides a first synthetic guide for their use in hypothesis testing in invasion biology.
Original languageEnglish
Article number155102
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Early online date22 Apr 2022
Publication statusPublished - 15 Aug 2022


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