Invasive alien species continue to proliferate and cause severe ecological impacts. Functional responses (FRs) have shown excellent utility in predicting invasive predator success, however, their use in predicting invasive prey success is limited. Here, we assessed invader success by quantifying FRs and prey switching patterns of two native predators, the common sea star, Asterias rubens, and the green crab, Carcinus maenas, towards native blue mussels, Mytilus edulis, and invasive Pacific oysters, Crassostrea gigas. Asterias displayed destabilising type II FRs, whereas Carcinus displayed stabilising type III FRs towards both prey species. Both predators exhibited greater search efficiencies and maximum feeding rates towards native compared to invasive prey. Both predators disproportionately consumed native mussels over invasive oysters when presented simultaneously, even when native mussels were rare in the environment, therefore indicating negligible prey switching. We demonstrate that invasion success may be mediated through differential levels of biotic resistance exerted by native predators.
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Biotic and abiotic factors influencing the invasion success and ecological impacts of the Pacific oyster, Crassostrea gigasAuthor: Joyce, P., Dec 2019
Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis › Doctor of Philosophy