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Global environmental changes more frequently offset than intensify detrimental effects of biological invasions

May 27, 2022

Human-induced abiotic global environmental changes (GECs) and the spread of nonnative invasive species are rapidly altering ecosystems. Understanding the relative and interactive effects of invasion and GECs is critical for informing ecosystem adaptation and management, but this information has not been synthesized. We conducted a meta-analysis to investigate effects of invasions, GECs, and their combined influences on native ecosystems. We found 458 cases from 95 published studies that reported individual and combined effects of invasions and a GEC stressor, which was most commonly warming, drought, or nitrogen addition. We calculated standardized effect sizes (Hedges’ d) for individual and combined treatments and classified interactions as additive (sum of individual treatment effects), antagonistic (smaller than expected), or synergistic (outside the expected range). The ecological effects of GECs varied, with detrimental effects more likely with drought than the other GECs. Invasions were more strongly detrimental, on average, than GECs. Invasion and GEC interactions were mostly antagonistic, but synergistic interactions occurred in >25% of cases and mostly led to more detrimental outcomes for ecosystems. While interactive effects were most often smaller than expected from individual invasion and GEC effects, synergisms were not rare and occurred across ecological responses from the individual to the ecosystem scale. Overall, interactions between invasions and GECs were typically no worse than the effects of invasions alone, highlighting the importance of managing invasions locally as a crucial step toward reducing harm from multiple global changes.

Publication Year 2022
Title Global environmental changes more frequently offset than intensify detrimental effects of biological invasions
DOI 10.1073/pnas.2117389119
Authors Bianca Lopez, Jenica Allen, Jeffrey Dukes, Jonathan Lenoir, Montserrat Vila, Dana Blumenthal, Evelyn M. Beaury, Emily J. Fusco, Brittany B. Laginhas, Toni Lyn Morelli, Mitchell W. O’Neill, Cascade J. B. Sorte, Alberto Maceda-Veiga, Raj Whitlock, Bethany A. Bradley
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
Index ID 70238935
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Northeast Climate Adaptation Science Center