What drives novel community formation? Mechanisms of resilience against invasion and native species persistence under land use change (2014–2018)
Environmental change is driving the creation of 'novel communities' (stable mixes of native and exotic species). These communities are inevitable outcomes of human-induced environmental changes, yet why and how they form is still poorly understood. Because these communities maintain high levels of native biodiversity, they are of great conservation value. Using Western Australia wildflower communities, this project will provide the first experimental tests of which environmental and biotic factors drive novel community formation, native species persistence and resilience to invasion. Results will be important for developing realistic conservation plans in many ecosystems globally and specifically in Western Australia's biodiversity hotspot.