Journal article

Native predator limits the capacity of an invasive seastar to exploit a food-rich habitat

Luke T Barrett, Stephen E Swearer, Tim Dempster

Marine Environmental Research | Elsevier | Published : 2020


Biodiverse ecosystems are sometimes inherently resistant to invasion, but environmental change can facilitate invasion by disturbing natural communities and providing resources that are underutilised by native species. In such cases, sufficiently abundant native predators may help to limit invasive population growth. We studied native and invasive seastars feeding under two mussel aquaculture sites in south-east Australia, to determine whether food-rich farm habitats are likely to be reproductive hotspots for the invasive seastar (Asterias amurensis) and whether the larger native seastar (Coscinasterias muricata) reduces the value of the farms for the invader. We found that invaders were not..

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Funding Acknowledgements

This work was funded by a Holsworth Wildlife Research Endowment awarded to LB. Lance Wiffen kindly provided access to aquaculture leases, while Chris Taylor, Simon Reeves, Emily Fobert, Dean Chamberlain, Jack O'Connor, Ben Cleveland, Kevin Jensen, Kevin Menzies, Oliver Thomas and Rod Watson assisted with fieldwork. The manuscript benefitted from discussions with colleagues in the SALTT and REEF labs at the University of Melbourne, Greg Parry, and anonymous reviewers. Collections were conducted with relevant permits from the Victorian Fisheries Authority.