Role of abiotic factors and biotic interactions in biological invasions : a comparison of natural and human-induced invasions in freshwater ecosystems

  • Invasive non-native species are key components of human-induced global environmen-tal change and lead to a loss of biodiversity, alterations of species interactions and changes of ecosystem services. Freshwater ecosystems in particular are strongly affect-ed by biological invasions, since they are spatially restricted environments and often already heavily impacted by anthropogenic activities. Recent human-induced species invasions are often characterized by long-distance dispersal, with many species having extended their native distribution range within a very short time frame. However, a long term view into the past shows that biological invasions are common phenomena in nature—representing the arrival of a species into a location in which it did not originally evolve—as a result of climatic changes, geotectonic activity or other natural events. Once a species arrives in a new habitat, it may experience an array of novel selection pressures resulting from abiotic and biotic environmental factors and simultaneously act as a novel selective agent on the native fauna. Consequences of species invasions are manifold. My thesis, which combines seven studies on different aspects of biological invasions, aims to explore the influence of abiotic stressors and biotic interactions during species introductions and range expansions, as well as the consequences of biological invasions on evolutionary and ecosystem processes. The first part of my thesis examines human-induced biological invasions, dealing with basic ecological characteristics of invaded ecosystems, novel predator-prey interactions, functional consequences of species invasions and certain behavioral traits that may contribute to the invasiveness of some species. The second part of my thesis examined distribution patterns and phenotypic trait divergence in species that historically invaded new geographical areas. I investigated variation of abiotic and biotic selection factors along a stream gradient as well as ecological and evolutionary consequences of species invasions to extreme habitats. The results highlight the importance of simultaneously considering processes involved in natural invasions and during human-induced invasions to understand the success of invading species. We often lack detailed information on the impacts of historical biological inva-sions. Also, we are currently lacking crucial knowledge about the time scales during which different mechanisms (behavioral flexibility, plastic phenotypic changes, and ge-netic adaptation) play a role during biological invasions and affect species exchange and establishment. Comparative analyses of historical, natural invasion and recent (man-made) invasions can provide insights into the relative importance of the processes governing adaptation to abiotic stressors and selection resulting from biotic interactions. Beyond their negative effects, the establishment of invasive species and the subsequent range expansion represent “natural experiments” to investigate fundamental questions in ecology and evolution. My comparison of natural and human-induced biological invasions revealed that in many cases preadaptation to altered abiotic conditions plays a key role during early stages of invasions and range expansions. Considering the evolutionary history of invasive species and the evolutionary history of the recipient native fauna might therefore help predict the consequences of biological invasions for the ecosystem under consideration and the future success of the invading species. This knowledge can also be implemented when formulating conservation strategies, including methods to mitigate and manage human-induced biological invasions.

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Author:Jonas JourdanORCiDGND
Place of publication:Frankfurt am Main
Referee:Martin PlathORCiDGND, Jörg OehlmannORCiDGND
Document Type:Doctoral Thesis
Date of Publication (online):2016/12/15
Year of first Publication:2016
Publishing Institution:Universitätsbibliothek Johann Christian Senckenberg
Granting Institution:Johann Wolfgang Goethe-Universität
Date of final exam:2016/10/13
Release Date:2016/12/15
Page Number:207
Institutes:Biowissenschaften / Institut für Ökologie, Evolution und Diversität
Dewey Decimal Classification:5 Naturwissenschaften und Mathematik / 57 Biowissenschaften; Biologie / 570 Biowissenschaften; Biologie
Sammlung Biologie / Biologische Hochschulschriften (Goethe-Universität)
Licence (German):License LogoDeutsches Urheberrecht