Invasion Biology

Introduction of species to new biogeographic regions poses both challenges for conservation of native communities and opportunities for increasing our ecological understanding of the forces governing the assembly, structure and functioning of these communities. Work in our lab on invasions focuses on aspects of communities that either promote or retard the success of invasive species. Much of this work has involved either the effects of native diversity on invasion resistance or the effects of climate change on the relative success of native vs. exotic species.  My first forays into invasion biology came in investigating the role of native species diversity in retarding the success of introduced species (Stachowicz et al. 1999, 2002, Stachowicz and Byrnes 2006), in which we found both experimental and observational evidence to support the idea that resident community diversity reduced invasion success.  Together with others at an Ecological Society of America Symposium, we wrote a synthesis piece on the controversy underlying this idea deemed “the invasion paradox”:  diversity reduces invasion success in experiments, yet native and invader diversity is often positively correlated in field situations (Fridley, Stachowicz et al. 2007).

Most of my work on invasions focuses on sessile invertebrate invaders, often known as the fouling community when they occur on pilings, docks or boat hulls.  We have used these communities to examine the effects of climate warming on invasion success on both the Atlantic and Pacific coasts of North America (Stachowicz et al. 2002, Sorte and Stachowicz 2011) and also the role of native vs exotic suspension feeders in maintaining coastal water clarity (Byrnes and Stachowicz 2009).

In addition to the conservation challenges posed by introduced species, these large scale introductions provide unintended experiments at a spatial scale that most scientists could only dream of, that provide important insights into ecological and evolutionary processes (Sax Stachowicz et al. 2007).   For example, these systems also provide a tractable study system for examining coexistence and diversity maintenance (Stachowicz and Tilman 2005, Edwards and Stachowicz 2010, 2011, 2012). With Dov Sax and Steve Gaines, I edited a book that asked many ecologists evolutionists and biogeographers just this question. Information about the book can be found here.

Relevant papers

Byers, J.E., R.S. Smith, J.M. Pringle, G.F. Clark, P.E. Gribben, C.L. Hewitt, G.J. Inglis, E.L. Johnston, G.M. Ruiz, J.J. Stachowicz, M.J. Bishop. 2015. Invasion Expansion: Time since introduction best predicts global ranges of marine invaders. Scientific Reports 5:12436 [-pdf-]

Rius, M., E.E. Potter, J.D. Aguirre, and J.J. Stachowicz. 2014. Mechanisms of biotic resistance across complex life cycles. Journal of Animal Ecology 83, 296–305.[-pdf-]

Edwards, K.F. and J.J. Stachowicz. 2012. Temporally varying larval settlement, competition, and coexistence in a sessile invertebrate community. Marine Ecology Progress Series 462: 93–102.[-pdf-]

Sorte, C.J.B and J.J. Stachowicz 2011. Patterns and processes of compositional change in a California epibenthic community. Marine Ecology Progress Series. 435:63-74. [-pdf-]

Edwards, K.F. and J.J. Stachowicz. 2011. Spatially stochastic settlement and the coexistence of benthic marine animals. Ecology 92:1094-1103. [-pdf-]

Edwards, K.F. and J.J. Stachowicz. 2010. Multivariate tradeoffs, succession, and phenological differentiation in a guild of colonial invertebrates. Ecology 91: 3146-3152.[-pdf-]

Sellheim, K.L., J.J. Stachowicz and R.C. Coates. 2010. Effects of a non-native habitat-forming species on mobile and sessile epifaunal communities. Marine Ecology Progress Series 398:69-80.[-pdf-]

Fridley, J. D., J. J. Stachowicz, S. Naeem, D. F. Sax, E. W. Seabloom, M. D. Smith, T. J. Stohlgren, D. Tilman, and B. V. Holle. 2007. The invasion paradox: Reconciling Pattern andn Process in Species Invasions. Ecology 88:3-17. [-pdf-]

Sax D.F., J.J. Stachowicz, J.H. Brown, J.F. Bruno, M.N. Dawson, S.D. Gaines, R.K. Grosberg, A.Hastings, R.D. Holt, M.M. Mayfield, M.I. O’Connor, and W. R. Rice. 2007. Ecological and evolutionary insights from species invasions. Trends in Ecology and Evolution 22:465-471 [-pdf-]

Stachowicz, J. J., and J. E. Byrnes. 2006. Species diversity, invasion success, and ecosystem functioning: disentangling the influence of resource competition, facilitation, and extrinsic factors. Marine Ecology Progress Series 311:251-262. [-pdf-]

Stachowicz, J.J., J. R. Terwin, R. B. Whitlatch and R.W. Osman. 2002. Linking climate change and biological invasions: ocean warming facilitates non-indigenous species invasion. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 99:15497- 15500. [-pdf-]

Stachowicz, J. J., H. Fried, R. W. Osman, and R. B. Whitlach. 2002. Biodiversity, invasion resistance, and marine ecosystem function: reconciling pattern and process. Ecology 83:2575-2590. [-pdf-]

Stachowicz, J. J., R. B. Whitlatch, and R. W. Osman. 1999. Species diversity and invasion resistance in a marine ecosystem. Science 286:1577-1579. [-pdf-]