Salt cedar negatively affects biodiversity of aquatic macroinvertebrates

J. K. Bailey, J. A. Schweitzer, Thomas G Whitham

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

60 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Salt cedar (Tamarix ramossisima), an invasive species, has become a dominant shrub along many streams of the southwestern United States, where it has replaced many native species such as Fremont cottonwood (Populus fremontii). We examined whether the successful invasion of this exotic shrub alters stream leaf litter decomposition rates and affects the aquatic macroinvertebrates that are dependent on leaf litter as a food source. With an in-stream leaf pack experiment, we found that faster decomposition of salt cedar litter was associated with a two-fold decrease in macroinvertebrate richness and a four-fold decrease in overall macroinvertebrate abundance, relative to native Fremont cottonwood. Macroinvertebrate communities were also significantly different on the two food sources through time. These studies demonstrate that invasion by salt cedar affects leaf litter quality, which in turn affects stream macroinvertebrates. Such impacts on the primary consumers and food web structure could affect higher trophic levels.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)442-447
Number of pages6
JournalWetlands
Volume21
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2001

Fingerprint

Biodiversity
macroinvertebrate
Salts
biodiversity
salt
leaf litter
Decomposition
shrub
decomposition
fold
food
invasive species
native species
trophic level
food web
relative abundance
litter
Experiments
experiment

Keywords

  • Community
  • Cottonwood
  • Exotic species
  • Leaf litter decomposition
  • Leaf packs
  • Populus
  • Riparian ecology
  • Tamarix

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Ecology
  • Environmental Chemistry

Cite this

Salt cedar negatively affects biodiversity of aquatic macroinvertebrates. / Bailey, J. K.; Schweitzer, J. A.; Whitham, Thomas G.

In: Wetlands, Vol. 21, No. 3, 2001, p. 442-447.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Bailey, JK, Schweitzer, JA & Whitham, TG 2001, 'Salt cedar negatively affects biodiversity of aquatic macroinvertebrates', Wetlands, vol. 21, no. 3, pp. 442-447.
Bailey, J. K. ; Schweitzer, J. A. ; Whitham, Thomas G. / Salt cedar negatively affects biodiversity of aquatic macroinvertebrates. In: Wetlands. 2001 ; Vol. 21, No. 3. pp. 442-447.
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