How strong is the effect of invasive ecosystem engineers on the distribution patterns of local species, the local and regional biodiversity and ecosystem functions?
1 National Institute of Oceanography, Israel Oceanographic and Limnological Research, Haifa, Israel
2 Bangor University, Bangor, UK
3 University College Dublin, Dublin, Ireland
4 University of Pisa, Pisa, Italy
5 Marine Biology Department, Estonian Marine Institute, Tallinn, Estonia
6 Plymouth Marine Laboratory, Plymouth, UK
7 Institute of Marine Biology, Biotechnology and Aquaculture, Hellenic Centre for Marine Research, Heraklion - Crete, Greece
Environmental Evidence 2012, 1:10 doi:10.1186/2047-2382-1-10Published: 6 August 2012
One of the most influential forms of biological invasions is that of invasive ecosystem engineers, species that affect other biota via alterations to the abiotic environment. Such species can have wide-reaching consequences because they alter ecosystems and essentially “change the rules of existence” for a broad suite of resident biota. They thus affect resources or stressors that affect other organisms.The objective of this systematic review will be to quantify the positive and negative impacts of invasive ecosystem engineers on ecosystem structure and functioning, and to identify factors that cause their effects to vary.
We will search a number of online databases to gather empirical evidence from the literature on the impacts of invasive ecosystem engineers on: (1) species richness and other univariate and multivariate measures of biodiversity; (2) productivity and abundance of algae, and animals; and (3) biogeochemical cycling and other flows of energy and materials, including trophic interactions. Data from relevant studies will be extracted and used in a random effects meta-analysis in order to estimate the average effect size of invasive ecosystem engineers on each response of interest.