Negative effect of purple loosestrife and reed canary grass on the diversity of wetland plant and moth communities Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/rn301381c

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  • Invasive plants have the potential to reduce the diversity of species in plant and animal communities. I examined the negative effect of two invasive wetland plants, purple loosestrife and reed canary grass, on the species richness and diversity of plant and moth communities within 24 wetland study sites in the Pacific Northwest. I hypothesized that as the cover of the invasive species increased, the diversity of the local plant and moth community would decrease. Increasing cover of purple loosestrife and reed canary grass was associated with reduction in the diversity of wetland plant communities irrespective of the diversity measure examined. Moth species richness was positively correlated with plant species richness, but I found no detectable direct negative association between loosestrife and canary grass cover and moth community diversity. Wetland hydrology, soil characteristics, and topography were measured to control for potentially covarying and confounding influences on plant diversity. Temperature, ambient light, and surrounding land-use were measured to control for potentially covarying and confounding influences on moth sampling and diversity. None of these variables was significantly associated with invasive species abundance. This strengthens the conclusion that the invasive species are the cause of the decline in biotic diversity. Understanding the mechanisms that influence plant invasions will lead to more effective management strategies. I examined the role of soil nutrients in the invasive potential of purple loosestrife. I hypothesized that nitrogen was the primary nutrient limiting plant growth and that higher soil nitrogen concentrations would increase the growth of purple loosestrife within 13 wetland sites in the Willamette Valley, Oregon. Using greenhouse experiments and field studies I found that nitrogen was the primary resource limiting both plant community biomass and purple loosestrife growth. Purple loosestrife grew well in soils taken from nine wetlands currently not colonized by loosestrife. Given their similar hydroperiods, this suggests that these wetlands will be susceptible to invasion should loosestrife colonize. Plant species richness was negatively associated with soil nitrate and ammonium concentrations, This trend included invaded and non-invaded sites. Therefore, to prevent repeated invasions, management strategies should consider methods for reducing soil nutrient concentrations, particularly nitrogen.
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  • description.provenance : Approved for entry into archive by Patricia Black(patricia.black@oregonstate.edu) on 2011-02-04T21:34:18Z (GMT) No. of bitstreams: 1 SchoolerShon2003.pdf: 2744182 bytes, checksum: f923e6179d23e52af65fe59f925729fa (MD5)
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  • description.provenance : Approved for entry into archive by Patricia Black(patricia.black@oregonstate.edu) on 2011-02-04T21:21:18Z (GMT) No. of bitstreams: 1 SchoolerShon2003.pdf: 2744182 bytes, checksum: f923e6179d23e52af65fe59f925729fa (MD5)
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