Invasion-mediated effects on marine trophic interactions in a changing climate: positive feedbacks favour kelp persistence
Miranda, RJ, Coleman, MA, Tagliafico, A, Rangel, MS, Mamo, LT, Barros, F & Kelaher, BP 2019, 'Invasion-mediated effects on marine trophic interactions in a changing climate: positive feedbacks favour kelp persistence', Royal Society of London Proceedings B, vol. 286, no. 1899.
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The interactive effects of ocean warming and invasive species are complex and remain a source of uncertainty for projecting future ecological change. Climate-mediated change to trophic interactions can have pervasive ecological consequences, but the role of invasion in mediating trophic effects is largely unstudied. Using manipulative experiments in replicated outdoor mesocosms, we reveal how near-future ocean warming and macrophyte invasion scenarios interactively impact gastropod grazing intensity and preference for consumption of foundation macroalgae ( Ecklonia radiata and Sargassum vestitum). Elevated water temperature increased the consumption of both macroalgae through greater grazing intensity. Given the documented decline of kelp ( E. radiata) growth at higher water temperatures, enhanced grazing could contribute to the shift from kelp-dominated to Sargassum-dominated reefs that is occurring at the low-latitude margins of kelp distribution. However, the presence of a native invader ( Caulerpa filiformis) was related to low consumption by the herbivores on dominant kelp at warmer temperatures. Thus, antagonistic effects between climate change and a range expanding species can favour kelp persistence in a warmer future. Introduction of species should, therefore, not automatically be considered unfavourable under climate change scenarios. Climatic changes are increasing the need for effective management actions to address the interactive effects of multiple stressors and their ecological consequences, rather than single threats in isolation.