Environmental conditions and community evenness determine the outcome of biological invasion

Karen De Roy, Massimo Marzorati, Andrea Negroni, Olivier Thas, Annalisa Balloi, Fabio Fava, Willy Verstraete, Daniele Daffonchio, Nico Boon*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

115 Scopus citations


Biological invasion is widely studied, however, conclusions on the outcome of this process mainly originate from observations in systems that leave a large number of experimental variables uncontrolled. Here using a fully controlled system consisting of assembled bacterial communities, we evaluate the degree of invasion and the effect on the community functionality in relation to the initial community evenness under specific environmental stressors. We show that evenness influences the level of invasion and that the introduced species can promote functionality under stress. The evenness-invasibility relationship is negative in the absence and neutral in the presence of stress. Under these conditions, the introduced species is able to maintain the functionality of uneven communities. These results indicate that communities, initially having the same genetic background, in the presence of the same invader, react in a different way with respect to invasibility and functionality depending on specific environmental conditions and community evenness.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1383
JournalNature Communications
StatePublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Physics and Astronomy


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