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The University of Massachusetts Amherst

Biotic resistance to invasion is ubiquitous across ecosystems of the U.S.

Authors:

Evelyn Beaury

John Finn

Jeffrey Corbin

Valerie Barr

Bethany Bradley

Marcel Rejmanek

+1 more
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Year of Publication:
2019
Secondary Title:
Ecology Letters
ISSN:
1461-023X
DOI:
10.1111/ele.13446
Year:
2019
Date:
Jan-12-2021

Abstract

The biotic resistance hypothesis predicts that diverse native communities are more resistant to invasion. However, past studies vary in their support for this hypothesis due to an apparent contradiction between experimental studies, which support biotic resistance, and observational studies, which find that native and non-native species richness are positively related at broad scales (small-scale studies are more variable). Here, we present a novel analysis of the biotic resistance hypothesis using 24 456 observations of plant richness spanning four community types and seven ecoregions of the United States. Non-native plant occurrence was negatively related to native plant richness across all community types and ecoregions, although the strength of biotic resistance varied across different ecological, anthropogenic and climatic contexts. Our results strongly support the biotic resistance hypothesis, thus reconciling differences between experimental and observational studies and providing evidence for the shared benefits between invasive species management and native biodiversity conservation.