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Biological Invasions

, Volume 12, Issue 5, pp 1253–1267 | Cite as

Biological consequences of invasion by reed canary grass (Phalaris arundinacea)

  • Greg SpyreasEmail author
  • Brian W. Wilm
  • Allen E. Plocher
  • David M. Ketzner
  • Jeffrey W. Matthews
  • James L. Ellis
  • Edward J. Heske
Original Paper

Abstract

Although they are typically assumed to be negative, the consequences of plant invasions for native diversity or biological integrity are seldom broadly quantified (i.e., for multiple taxa or across large regions). We investigated the impacts associated with invasion of wetlands by reed canary grass (Phalaris arundinacea L.; RCG) on plants and several animal groups. In a local study, we compared plants, arthropods, and small mammals on treatment plots with reduced RCG dominance to those on highly invaded plots. We also conducted a companion study, where we measured RCG dominance and plants, arthropods, and birds in 82 randomly selected wetlands across Illinois (USA) to determine if our experimental results were consistent in communities across the region. Plant diversity, floristic quality, and diversity and abundance of Homopteran insects decreased with RCG dominance in all instances. Richness and abundance of all other arthropods decreased with increasing RCG in the local study, but no trend was detected in communities statewide. No relationship between total abundance or richness of small mammals (local) or birds (statewide) with RCG was detected. However, voles and shrews were more abundant, and mice less abundant, in RCG-dominated plots. These results support the hypothesis that there are negative effects for multiple taxa from RCG invasion. Because negative effects observed in the local study either corroborated, or were neutral with respect to results from statewide surveys, they suggest that native biodiversity and biological integrity are being dampened across wide areas of this invader’s range.

Keywords

Biodiversity Biotic homogenization Multi-trophic effects Cryptic invader Floristic quality assessment Non-native species 

Notes

Acknowledgments

Thanks to Sue Gallo, Diane Szafoni, and Chris Dietrich for technical assistance; the Illinois Department of Transportation, the critical trends assessment program, and the Illinois Department of Natural Resources—Illinois Wildlife Preservation Fund Grant for financial support. Thanks to Eileen M. Kirsch for access to previously unpublished data, and to Lauren Persha and Chris Whelan and anonymous reviewers for comments on earlier versions of the manuscript.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Greg Spyreas
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Brian W. Wilm
    • 1
  • Allen E. Plocher
    • 1
  • David M. Ketzner
    • 1
  • Jeffrey W. Matthews
    • 1
  • James L. Ellis
    • 1
  • Edward J. Heske
    • 1
  1. 1.Illinois Natural History SurveyChampaignUSA
  2. 2.Department of Natural Resources and Environmental SciencesUniversity of IllinoisUrbanaUSA

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