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Predator control promotes invasive dominated ecological states


Wallach, AD and Johnson, CN and Ritchie, EG and O'Neill, AJ, Predator control promotes invasive dominated ecological states , Ecology Letters, 13, (8) pp. 1008-1018. ISSN 1461-023X (2010) [Refereed Article]

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Copyright © 2010 Blackwell Publishing Ltd/CNRS The definitive published version is available online at:

DOI: doi:10.1111/j.1461-0248.2010.01492.x


Invasive species are regarded as one of the top five drivers of the global extinction crisis. In response, extreme measures have been applied in an attempt to control or eradicate invasives, with little success overall. We tested the idea that state shifts to invasive dominance are symptomatic of losses in ecosystem resilience, due to the suppression of apex predators. This concept was investigated in Australia where the high rate of mammalian extinctions is largely attributed to the destructive influence of invasive species. Intensive pest control is widely applied across the continent, simultaneously eliminating AustraliaŐs apex predator, the dingo (Canis lupus dingo). We show that predator management accounts for shifts between two main ecosystem states. Lethal control fractures dingo social structure and leads to bottom-up driven increases in invasive mesopredators and herbivores. Where control is relaxed, dingoes re-establish top–down regulation of ecosystems, allowing for the recovery of biodiversity and productivity.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Research Division:Biological Sciences
Research Group:Ecology
Research Field:Community ecology (excl. invasive species ecology)
Objective Division:Environmental Management
Objective Group:Terrestrial systems and management
Objective Field:Terrestrial biodiversity
UTAS Author:Johnson, CN (Professor Christopher Johnson)
ID Code:72275
Year Published:2010
Web of Science® Times Cited:128
Deposited By:Zoology
Deposited On:2011-08-24
Last Modified:2012-03-06
Downloads:6 View Download Statistics

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