Rebecca A. Fletcher, Rachel K. Brooks, Vasiliy T. Lakoba, Gourav Sharma, Ariel R. Heminger, Christopher C. Dickinson and Jacob N. Barney
School of Plant and Environmental Sciences, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA, 24060, USA
Despite our growing understanding of the impacts of invasive plants on ecosystem structure and function, important gaps remain, including whether native and exotic species respond differently to plant invasions. This would elucidate basic ecological interactions and inform management. We performed a meta-analytic review of the effects of invasive plants on native and exotic resident animals. We found that invasive plants reduced the abundance of native, but not exotic animals. This varied by animal phyla, with invasive plants reducing the abundance of native annelids and chordates, but not molluscs or arthropods. We found dissimilar impacts among ‘wet’ and ‘dry’ ecosystems, but not among animal trophic levels. Additionally, the impact of invasive plants increased over time, but this did not vary with animal nativity. Our review found that no studies considered resident nativity differences, and most did not identify animals to species. We call for more rigorous studies of invaded community impacts across taxa, and most importantly, explicit consideration of resident biogeographic origin. We provide an important first insight into how native and exotic species respond differently to invasion, the consequences of which may facilitate cascading trophic disruptions further exacerbating global change consequences to ecosystem structure and function.