Direct and indirect effects of invasion by the alien tree Ailanthus altissima on riparian plant communities and ecosystem multifunctionality

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Title: Direct and indirect effects of invasion by the alien tree Ailanthus altissima on riparian plant communities and ecosystem multifunctionality
Authors: Constán Nava, Soraya | Soliveres, Santiago | Torices, Rubén | Serra, Lluís | Bonet, Andreu
Research Group/s: Gestión de Ecosistemas y de la Biodiversidad (GEB)
Center, Department or Service: Universidad de Alicante. Departamento de Ecología | Universidad de Alicante. Instituto Multidisciplinar para el Estudio del Medio "Ramón Margalef"
Keywords: Biodiversity | Ecosystem function | Invasive species | Path analysis | Phylodiversity | Riparian forests
Knowledge Area: Ecología
Issue Date: Apr-2015
Publisher: Springer International Publishing Switzerland
Citation: Biological Invasions. 2015, 17(4): 1095-1108. doi:10.1007/s10530-014-0780-4
Abstract: Most existing studies addressing the effects of invasive species on biodiversity focus on species richness ignoring better indicators of biodiversity and better predictors of ecosystem functioning such as the diversity of evolutionary histories (phylodiversity). Moreover, no previous study has separated the direct effect of alien plants on multiple ecosystem functions simultaneously (multifunctionality) from those indirect ones mediated by the decrease on biodiversity caused by alien plants. We aimed to analyze direct and indirect effects, mediated or not by its effect on biodiversity, of the invasive tree Ailanthus altissima on ecosystem multifunctionality of riparian habitats under Mediterranean climate. We measured vegetation attributes (species richness and phylodiversity) and several surrogates of ecosystem functioning (understory plant biomass, soil enzyme activities, available phosphorous and organic matter) in plots infested by A. altissima and in control (non-invaded) ones. We used structural equation modelling to tease apart the direct and indirect effects of A. altissima on ecosystem multifunctionality. Our results suggest that lower plant species richness, phylodiversity and multifunctionality were associated to the presence of A. altissima. When analyzing each function separately, we found that biodiversity has the opposite effect of the alien plant on all the different functions measured, therefore reducing the strength of the effect (either positive or negative) of A. altissima on them. This is one of the few existing studies addressing the effect of invasive species on phylodiversity and also studying the effect of invasive species on multiple ecosystem functions simultaneously.
Sponsor: This research and SCN PhD fellowship were supported by the ESTRES Project (063/SGTB/2007/7.1) and RECUVES Project (077/RN08/04.1) founded by the Spanish Ministerio de Medio Ambiente and BAHIRA CICYT project (CGL2008-03649/BTE) founded by the Spanish Ministerio de Ciencia y Tecnología. Font Roja Natura UA Scientific Station (ECFRN UA), depending on the Pro-Vice-Chancellorship for Research, Development and Innovation (VIDI) of the University of Alicante, supported also this research. SS was supported by the European Research Council under the European Community’s Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007-2013)/ERC Grant agreement 242658 (BIOCOM). RT was partially supported by a postdoctoral scholarship from the Spanish Ministerio de Educación (BVA 2010-0375).
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10045/53329
ISSN: 1387-3547 (Print) | 1573-1464 (Online)
DOI: 10.1007/s10530-014-0780-4
Language: eng
Type: info:eu-repo/semantics/article
Rights: © Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2014. The final publication is available at Springer via http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10530-014-0780-4
Peer Review: si
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10530-014-0780-4
Appears in Collections:Research funded by the EU
INV - GEB - Artículos de Revistas

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