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Genetic composition of resident populations influences establishment success of immigrant species

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We conducted an outdoor container experiment to test the hypothesis that the genetic composition of resident populations influences the establishment success of immigrant species. We manipulated the genetic compositions (source populations) of populations of the water flea Daphnia magna, a strong competitor in pond and shallow lake zooplankton communities, and monitored the establishment success of immigrant cladoceran species of a regional species pool. We show that establishment success is affected by the source population of the resident D. magna as well as by the presence/absence of macrophytes and the presence/absence of fish in the containers. Our results provide evidence that the genetic composition of resident populations can impact community assembly and metacommunity dynamics, and that community genetics can influence ecosystem functioning.

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This study was financially supported by the K. U. Leuven Research Fund (project OT/04/23) and by the ESF EURODIVERSITY program (project BIOPOOL, nationally funded by Belspo and Fund for Scientific Research, Flanders). We thank R. Brandl and two anonymous reviewers for constructive comments on earlier versions of the manuscript.

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Correspondence to Luc De Meester.

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Communicated by Roland Brandl.

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De Meester, L., Louette, G., Duvivier, C. et al. Genetic composition of resident populations influences establishment success of immigrant species. Oecologia 153, 431–440 (2007). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00442-007-0721-3

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  • Feedback of evolution on ecology
  • Establishment success
  • Community genetics
  • Priority effects
  • Zooplankton