Author ORCID Identifier
https://orcid.org/0000-0002-3570-3588 : Catherine Febria https://orcid.org/0000-0003-4132-3204 : Isabelle Barrett https://orcid.org/0000-0003-2696-8813 : Angus McIntosh https://orcid.org/0000-0001-6828-2532 : Helen Warburton
Proceedings of the Royal Society B
biotic interactions, colonization, priority effects, resistance and resilience
Traditionally, resistance and resilience are associated with good ecological health, often underpinning restoration goals. However, degraded ecosystems can also be highly resistant and resilient, making restoration difficult: degraded communities often become dominated by hyper-tolerant species, preventing recolonization and resulting in low biodiversity and poor eco-system function. Using streams as a model, we undertook a mesocosm experiment to test if degraded community presence hindered biological recovery. We established 12 mesocosms, simulating physically healthy streams. Degraded invertebrate communities were established in half, mimicking the post-restoration scenario of physical recovery without biological recovery. We then introduced a healthy colonist community to all mesocosms, testing if degraded community presence influenced healthy community establishment. Colonists established less readily in degraded community mesocosms, with larger decreases in abundance of sensitive taxa, likely driven by biotic interactions rather than abiotic constraints. Resource depletion by the degraded community likely increased competition, driving priority effects. Colonists left by drifting, but also by accelerating development, reducing time to emergence but sacrificing larger body size. Since degraded community presence prevented colonist establishment, our experiment suggests successful restoration must address both abiotic and biotic factors, especially those that reinforce the ‘negative’ resistance and resilience which perpetuate degraded communities and are typically overlooked
Funding Reference Number
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Barrett, Isabelle C.; McIntosh, Angus R.; Febria, Catherine; and Warburton, Helen J.. (2021). Negative resistance and resilience: biotic mechanisms underpin delayed biological recovery in stream restoration. Proceedings of the Royal Society B, 288.