The rise of the Functional Response in invasion science: a systematic review

Larissa Faria, Ross N. Cuthbert, James W.E. Dickey, Jonathan M. Jeschke, Anthony Ricciardi, Jaimie T. A. Dick, Jean R.S. Vitule

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)
113 Downloads (Pure)


Predicting which non-native species will negatively impact biodiversity is a longstanding research priority. The Functional Response (FR; resource use in relation to availability) is a classical ecological concept that has been increasingly applied to quantify, assess and compare ecological impacts of non-native species. Despite this recent growth, an overview of applications and knowledge gaps across relevant contexts is currently lacking. We conducted a systematic review using a combination of terms regarding FR and invasion science to synthesise scientific studies that apply the FR approach in the field and to suggest new areas where it could have valuable applications. Trends of publications using FR in invasion science and publications about FR in general were compared through the Activity Index. Data were extracted from papers to reveal temporal, bibliographic, and geographic trends, patterns in study attributes such as type of interaction and habitat investigated, taxonomic groups used, and context-dependencies assessed. In total, 120 papers were included in the review. We identified substantial unevenness in the reporting of FRs in invasion science, despite a rapidly growing number of studies. To date, research has been geographically skewed towards North America and Europe, as well as towards predator-prey interactions in freshwater habitats. Most studies have focused on a few species of invertebrates and fishes. Species origin, life stage, environmental temperature and habitat complexity were the most frequently considered context-dependencies. We conclude that while the FR approach has thus far been narrowly applied, it has broad potential application in invasion science and can be used to test major hypotheses in this research field.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)43-79
Publication statusPublished - 09 Jun 2023


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