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Impacts of the invader giant reed (Arundo donax) on riparian habitats and ground arthropod communities

AuthorsMaceda-Veiga, Alberto; Basas, Helena; Lanzaco, Gerard; Sala, Miquel; De Sostoa, Adolfo; Serra, Antoni
KeywordsCommunity structure
Body size
Exotic plant
Alien effects
Issue DateMar-2016
CitationBiological Invasions 18(3): 731-749 (2016)
AbstractRiparian areas have experienced long-term anthropogenic impacts including the effects of plant introductions. In this study, 27 plots were surveyed across three Mediterranean rivers in north-eastern Spain to explore the effects of the invader giant reed (Arundo donax) on riparian habitat features and the diversity, trophic structure, body size, and abundances of epigeal and hypogeal arthropods in riparian areas. Using pitfall traps and Berlese funnels, this study detected a significant increase in collembola abundance and a decrease in the abundance, body size and diversity of macro-arthropods at order and family levels in invaded plots compared to native stands. Invaded and un-invaded areas also differed in the taxonomical structure of arthropod assemblies but not in trophic guild proportions. However, the fact that arthropods were smaller in A. donax soils, together with the absence of particular taxa within each trophic guild or even an entire trophic group (parasitoids), suggests that food-web alterations in invaded areas cannot be discarded. Habitat features also differed between invaded and un-invaded areas with the poorest herbaceous understory and the largest leaf litter deposition and soil carbon stock observed in A. donax plots. The type of vegetation in riparian areas followed by the total native plant species richness were identified as major causal factors to changes in the abundance, diversity and composition of macro-arthropods. However, our analyses also showed that some alterations related to A. donax invasion were inconsistent across rivers, suggesting that A. donax effects may be context dependent. In conclusion, this study highlights an impoverishment of native flora and arthropod fauna in A. donax soils, and suggests major changes in riparian food webs if A. donax displaces native riparian vegetation.https://doi.org/10.1007/s10530-015-1044-7
Identifiersdoi: 10.1007/s10530-015-1044-7
e-issn: 1573-1464
issn: 1387-3547
Appears in Collections:(EBD) Artículos
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