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Data from: In a long-term experimental demography study, excluding ungulates reversed invader’s explosive population growth rate and restored natives

Citation

Kalisz, Susan; Spigler, Rachel B.; Horvitz, Carol C. (2015), Data from: In a long-term experimental demography study, excluding ungulates reversed invader’s explosive population growth rate and restored natives, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.bk272

Abstract

A major goal in ecology is to understand mechanisms that increase invasion success of exotic species. A recent hypothesis implicates altered species interactions resulting from ungulate herbivore overabundance as a key cause of exotic plant domination. To test this hypothesis, we maintained an experimental demography deer exclusion study for 6 y in a forest where the native ungulate Odocoileus virginianus (white-tailed deer) is overabundant and Alliaria petiolata (garlic mustard) is aggressively invading. Because population growth is multiplicative across time, we introduce new metrics to correctly integrate experimental effects across treatment years, the cumulative population growth rate, λc, and its geometric mean, λper-year, the time-averaged annual population growth rate. We determined λc and λper-year of the invader and of a common native, Trillium erectum. Our results conclusively demonstrate that deer are required for the success of Alliaria; its projected population trajectory shifted from explosive growth in the presence of deer (λper-year = 1.33) to decline toward extinction where deer are excluded (λper-year = 0.88). In contrast, Trillium’s λper-year was suppressed in the presence of deer relative to deer exclusion (λper-year = 1.04 vs. 1.20, respectively). Retrospective sensitivity analyses revealed that the largest negative effect of deer exclusion on Alliaria came from rosette transitions, whereas the largest positive effect on Trillium came from reproductive transitions. Deer exclusion lowered Alliaria density while increasing Trillium density. Our results provide previously unidentified, definitive experimental support that interactions with overabundant ungulates enhance demographic success of invaders and depress natives’ success, with broad implications for biodiversity and ecosystem function worldwide.

Usage Notes

Location

Fox Chapel Borough
-79.901941
Trillium Trail
Pennsylvania 40.520226
40.520226 -79.901941
Pittsburgh
Pennsylvania