Tuesday, August 9, 2016: 1:30 PM-5:00 PM
Grand Floridian Blrm B, Ft Lauderdale Convention Center
Lauren M. Smith, National Institute for Mathematical Biology
Camille Delavaux, Yale University
The Anthropocene is marked by unprecedented levels of species relocation, and resulting invasions both respond to and directly alter food web structure of invaded communities. Decades of invasion ecology have failed to adequately explain the extent of invasive species impact, as well as why some habitats are more invasible than others. Addressing these critical issues will require us to place invaders within a complete community context. Considering invaders in the context of full food-webs leads us to question the validity of reigning hypotheses based on direct interactions between one or two trophic levels. Recent advances in network analysis of food webs, alongside a growing interest amongst ecologists in multi-trophic interactions of invasive species, have created ideal opportunities to bridge the gap between food-web ecology and invasion ecology. This session seeks to synthesize recent progress and identify future directions as we work towards understanding invasion within the complexity of trophic networks.
While it has long been known that invasive predators can have strong impacts on native prey, and that invasive plants may benefit from escaping herbivores and parasites, these direct interactions only scratch the surface of potential feedbacks between invaders and native food webs. Here, we take a broad view of the relationship between invasion and trophic structure, asking 1) what food web properties make a native community susceptible to invasion? and 2) how does food web structure mediate invader impact on communities and ecosystems once a species has established? We consider the implications of invader-food web interactions for conservation, human health, and our basic understanding of core ecological principles, such as the role of biodiversity in ecosystem structure and function, above-belowground linkages, and indirect ecological interactions.