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Patch size distribution affects species invasion dynamics in dendritic networks

Cite this dataset

Kathrin, Holenstein; Harvey, Eric; Altermatt, Florian (2021). Patch size distribution affects species invasion dynamics in dendritic networks [Dataset]. Dryad.


Biological invasions are globally affecting ecosystems, causing local species loss and altering ecosystem functioning. Understanding how such biological invasions occur and succeed is thus of high priority. Both local properties and the spatial network structure have been shown to be determinants of invasion success, and the identification of spatial invasion hubs directly promoting invasion dynamics is gaining attention. Spatial dynamics, however, could also indirectly alter invasion success by shaping pre- invasion local community structure: in many ecosystems, such as riverine networks, regional properties such as patch size distribution are known drivers of local community structures, which themselves may affect the establishment success of invading species. Using microcosm experiments in dendritic networks, we disentangled how inherent patch size distribution and dispersal along specific network topologies shaped local resident communities, and, subsequently, affected the establishment success of invading species. After controlling for regional-scale effects of connectivity on pre-invasion diversity, we find that patch size distributions independently shaped pre-invasion community diversity and invasion success, with no direct effect of pre-invasion diversity on invasion success. Our results suggest that 1) landscape configuration plays an underestimated role in invasion success and that 2) invasion success should follow predictable landscape-scale patterns in riverine networks given non-random patch-size distribution.


Protist microcosm experiment in which protists' abundance and identity was assessed based on videos. Video data were pre-processed using openly available resources and diversity and invasion success of protist communities and the respective invador were calculated as described in the paper.

Usage notes

ReadMe file giving variable names provided.


Swiss National Science Foundation, Award: PP00P3_150698