Do alternative resources dampen functional responses of native but not alien gammarids?

Ross N. Cuthbert*, Syrmalenia G. Kotronaki, Jasmin C Hütt, Elisabeth Renk, Niklas Warlo, Elizabeta Briski

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
60 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

While aquatic invasive predators are among the most impactful trophic groups, we lack the understanding of whether alternative food resources mediate adverse predatory effects and stabilize native prey communities. Here, we use comparative functional responses to examine the influence of alternative food resources (Fucus sp.) on predator–prey interaction strengths from three gammarid crustaceans, with one native (Gammarus locusta) and two existing and emerging invasive (Gammarus tigrinus, Pontogammarus maeoticus, respectively) species, towards larval chironomid prey. All gammarids exhibited Type II functional responses, irrespective of the presence of alternative seaweed disks. Fucus sp. disks significantly reduced predation rates overall; however, significant reductions in maximum feeding rates (i.e., functional response magnitudes) were only evident in the native species and not for the two invaders. Our results thus may suggest that alternative resources dampen the predatory interaction strength of native but not invasive alien species, concerning these three study organisms. This potentially exacerbates the impacts of invasive predators relative to natives in diverse communities. Studies should increasingly consider alternative resources when quantifying ecological impacts of current and future invasive alien species compared with natives.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere9262
Number of pages7
JournalEcology and Evolution
Volume12
Issue number9
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 09 Sept 2022

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