Using functional responses and prey switching to quantify invasion success of the Pacific oyster, Crassostrea gigas.

Affiliation

School of Natural and Built Environment, Queen's University Belfast, Queen's Marine Laboratory, 12-13, The Strand, Portaferry, BT22 1PF, UK; Institute for Global Food Security, School of Biological Sciences, Queen's University Belfast, Medical Biology Centre, 97 Lisburn Road, Belfast, BT9 7BL, UK. Electronic address: [Email]

Abstract

Invasive alien species continue to proliferate and cause severe ecological impacts. Functional responses (FRs) have shown excellent utility in predicting invasive predator success, however, their use in predicting invasive prey success is limited. Here, we assessed invader success by quantifying FRs and prey switching patterns of two native predators, the common sea star, Asterias rubens, and the green crab, Carcinus maenas, towards native blue mussels, Mytilus edulis, and invasive Pacific oysters, Crassostrea gigas. Asterias displayed destabilising type II FRs, whereas Carcinus displayed stabilising type III FRs towards both prey species. Both predators exhibited greater search efficiencies and maximum feeding rates towards native compared to invasive prey. Both predators disproportionately consumed native mussels over invasive oysters when presented simultaneously, even when native mussels were rare in the environment, therefore indicating negligible prey switching. We demonstrate that invasion success may be mediated through differential levels of biotic resistance exerted by native predators.

Keywords

Biotic resistance,Crabs,Frequency dependent predation,Invasive species,Per capita consumption,Predation,Sea stars,