Capstone Title

The Evidence for Invasional Meltdown: The Great Lakes as a Case Study

Defense Date

2009

Document Type

Capstone

Degree Name

M.S. Coastal Zone Management

First Advisor

Jennifer Rehage

Abstract

Invasive species have altered many ecosystems, aquatic and terrestrial, and have been named a leading environmental threat to biodiversity and natural ecosystems. Food webs have been disturbed, predator/prey relationships have been impacted, nutrient webs have been modified, and structures of native habitats have been drastically altered. The term invasional meltdown, first introduced by Simberloff and Von Holle (1999), is used to describe an invaded ecosystem that has been altered due to mutual, positive facilitations between nonindigenous species. These facilitative interactions promotefurther invasions to the ecosystem, creating a synergistic effect. True evidence of invasional meltdown has been scarce, by which Simberloff (2006) documented that the true definition of invasional meltdown has only been shown in a few case studies. In the following study, literature containing examples of facilitation and positivefeedbackshave beengathered to prove that theGreatLakesare in a state of invasional meltdown.

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