Stressor intensity determines antagonistic interactions between species invasion and multiple stressor effects on ecosystem functioning

Siobhan R. Vye, Mark C. Emmerson, Francisco Arenas, Jaimie T. A. Dick, Nessa E. O'Connor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)
329 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Biological invasions, nutrient enrichment and ocean warming are known to threaten biodiversity and ecosystem functioning. The independent effects of these ecological stressors are well studied, however, we lack understanding of their cumulative effects, which may be additive, antagonistic or synergistic. For example, the impacts of biological invasions are often determined by environmental context, which suggests that the effects of invasive species may vary with other stressors such as pollution or climate change. This study examined the effects of an invasive seaweed (Sargassum muticum) on the structure and functioning of a benthic marine assemblage and tested explicitly whether these effects varied with nutrient enrichment and ocean warming. Overall, the presence of Sargassum muticum increased assemblage productivity rates and warming altered algal assemblage structure, which was characterised by a decrease in kelp and an increase in ephemeral green algae. The effects of Sargassum muticum on total algal biomass accumulation, however, varied with nutrient enrichment and warming producing antagonistic cumulative effects on total algal biomass accumulation. These findings show that the nature of stressor interactions may vary with stressor intensity and among response variables, which leads to less predictable consequences for the structure and functioning of communities.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1005-1012
Number of pages8
JournalOikos
Volume124
Issue number8
Early online date04 Dec 2014
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2015

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