Biological Invasions

, Volume 12, Issue 6, pp 1627–1640 | Cite as

The distribution of native and exotic plants in a naturally fragmented sagebrush-steppe landscape

Original Paper

Abstract

We tested two general hypotheses for the diversity of native and exotic plants in an undisturbed, naturally fragmented sagebrush-steppe landscape in SE Idaho, USA, evaluating whether the MacArthur–Wilson hypothesis of island biogeography or a suite of environmental variables explained the distributions of native and exotic plants. We also tested a third hypothesis, which incorporated assumptions about the origin of exotic plants and their interaction with native plants. Of the three hypotheses we tested, the hypothesis that included exotic species best explained the diversity of the native plant community. The MacArthur–Wilson model of island biogeography did not explain the diversity of native (R2 = 0.13) or exotic plants well (R2 = 0.11), and the model fit the data poorly. A model of environmental variables better explained the diversity of native (R2 = 0.48) and exotic plants (R2 = 0.57), but it also fit the data poorly. Instead, proximity to a railroad explained the cover (R2 = 0.59) and richness of exotic plants (R2 = 0.63), which then explained the species richness of native plants (R2 = 0.34), and the model fit was adequate and had the lowest AIC value. This suggests that the transportation corridor had a significant, though indirect, effect on the native plant community, even in this undisturbed area. Moreover, explained variance, model fit, and the AIC model selection criteria favored the model with the railroad and exotic species over the M–W and environmental models. Since the habitat patches we studied were largely undisturbed by people and their activities, our results further suggest that the transportation corridor influenced the distribution of exotic plants by serving as a vector for colonization, rather than as a source of disturbance. Additionally, the results suggest that exotic plant species have had a negative effect on the diversity of the native plant community and have changed its composition. The results also support the inference that the nascent exotic plant community is influenced by source-sink (Pulliam in Am Nat 132:652–661, 1988) and assembly dynamics. In contrast, the native plant community appears to be more strongly influenced by environmental conditions associated with an elevational gradient, but there is evidence that the native community also has undergone directional change in species composition, associated with the invasion by non-native species.

Keywords

Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve Environment Exotic plants Geomorphic fragmentation Insular habitat fragments Island biogeography theory Kipuka Native plants Structural equation models Transportation corridor 

Abbreviations

CRMO

Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve

M–W

MacArthur–Wilson model of island biogeography

SR

Species richness

SEM

Structural equation model

PCoA

Principal coordinates analysis

Supplementary material

10530_2009_9575_MOESM1_ESM.docx (21 kb)
(DOCX 20 kb)

References

  1. Abrahamson WG, Hunter MD, Melika G, Price PW (2003) Cynipid gall-wasp communities correlate with oak chemistry. J Chem Ecol 29:209–223. doi:10.1023/A:1021993017237 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. Anderson MJ (2001) A new method for non-parametric multivariate analysis of variance. Austral Ecol 26:32–46. doi:10.1046/j.1442-9993.2001.01070.x CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Anderson MJ (2007) Community analysis software accessed from: http://www.stat.auckland.ac.nz/~mja/Programs.htm
  4. Anderson JE, Inouye RS (2001) Landscape-scale changes in plant species abundance and biodiversity of a sagebrush steppe over 45 years. Ecol Monogr 71:531–556CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Anderson MJ, Willis TJ (2003) Canonical analysis of principal coordinates: a useful method of constrained ordination for ecology. Ecology 84:511–525. doi:10.1890/0012-9658(2003)084[0511:CAOPCA]2.0.CO;2 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Bangert RK, Slobodchikoff CN (2006) Prairie dog ecosystem engineering increases arthropod beta and gamma diversity. J Arid Environ 67:100–115. doi:10.1016/j.jaridenv.2006.01.015 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Brown JH (1971) Mammals on mountaintops: non-equilibrium insular biogeography. Am Nat 105:467–478. doi:10.1086/282738 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Brown JH, Kodric-Brown A (1977) Turnover rates in insular biogeography: effect of immigration on extinction. Ecology 58:445–449. doi:10.2307/1935620 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Caldwell MM, Dawson TE, Richards JH (1998) Hydraulic lift: consequences of water efflux from the roots of plants. Oecol 113:151–161. doi:10.1007/s004420050363 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Carter-Lovejoy SH (1982) The relationship between species numbers and island characteristics for habitat islands in a volcanic landscape. Great Basin Nat 42:113–119Google Scholar
  11. Chambers JC, Roundy BA, Blank RR et al (2007) What makes Great Basin sagebrush ecosystems invasible by Bromus tectorum? Ecol Monogr 77:117–145. doi:10.1890/05-1991 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Clarke KR, Warwick RM (2001) Change in Marine Communities: an approach to statistical analysis and interpretation, 2nd edn. Plymouth Marine Laboratory, PlymouthGoogle Scholar
  13. Crowl TA, Crist TO, Parmenter RR, Belovsky G et al (2008) The spread of invasive species and infectious disease as drivers of ecosystem change. Front Ecol Environ 6:238–246. doi:10.1890/070151 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. D’Antonio CM, Vitousek PM (1992) Biological invasions by exotic grasses, the grass/fire cycle, and global change. Annu Rev Ecol Syst 23:63–87Google Scholar
  15. Diamond J (1986) Overview: laboratory experiments, field experiments, and natural experiments. In: Diamond J, Case, TJ (eds) Community ecology. Harper and Row, New York, pp 3–22, 665Google Scholar
  16. Floyd DA, Anderson JE (1982) A new point interception frame for estimating cover of vegetation. Vegetatio 50:185–186. doi:10.1007/BF00364113 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Gelbard JL, Belnap J (2003) Roads as Conduits for exotic plant invasions in a semiarid landscape. Conserv Biol 17:420–432. doi:10.1046/j.1523-1739.2003.01408.x CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Gelbard JL, Harrison S (2003) Roadless habitats as refuges for native grasslands: interactions with soil, aspect, and grazing. Ecol Appl 13:404–415. doi:10.1890/1051-0761(2003)013[0404:RHARFN]2.0.CO;2 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Gotelli NJ, Colwell RK (2001) Quantifying biodiversity: procedures and pitfalls in the measurement and comparison of species richness. Ecol Lett 4:379–391. doi:10.1046/j.1461-0248.2001.00230.x CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Grace JB (2006) Structural equation modeling and natural systems. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Grace JB, Bollen KA (2005) Interpreting the results from multiple regression and structural equation models. Bull Ecol Soc Am 86:283–295. doi:10.1890/0012-9623(2005)86[283:ITRFMR]2.0.CO;2 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Hanser S, Huntly N (2006) Biogeography of small mammals of fragmented sagebrush-steppe landscapes. J Mammal 87:1165–1174. doi:10.1644/05-MAMM-A-385R2.1 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Harrison S, Hohn C, Ratay S (2002) Distribution of exotic plants along roads in a peninsular nature reserve. Biol Invasions 4:425–430. doi:10.1023/A:1023646016326 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Hitchcock CL, Cronquist A (1973) Flora of the Pacific Northwest. University of Washington Press, SeattleGoogle Scholar
  25. Holyoak M, Leibold MA, Mouquet N, Holt RD, Hoopes MF (2005) Metacommunities: a framework for large-scale community ecology. In: Holyoak M, Leibold MA, Holt RD (eds) Metacommunities: spatial dynamics and ecological communities. University of Chicago Press, Chicago, pp 1–31Google Scholar
  26. Inouye RS (2002) Sampling effort and vegetative cover estimates in sagebrush steppe. West N Am Nat 62:360–364Google Scholar
  27. Inouye RS (2006) Effects of shrub removal and nitrogen addition on soil moisture in sagebrush steppe. J Arid Environ 65:604–618. doi:10.1016/j.jaridenv.2005.10.005 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Knick ST, Rotenberry JT (1997) Landscape characteristics of disturbed shrubsteppe habitats in southwestern Idaho (USA). Landscape Ecol 12:287–297. doi:10.1023/A:1007915408590 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Larson DL, Anderson PJ, Newton W (2001) Alien plant invasion in mixed-grass prairie: effects of vegetation type and anthropogenic disturbance. Ecol Appl 11:128–141. doi:10.1890/1051-0761(2001)011[0128:APIIMG]2.0.CO;2 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Lau JA (2008) Beyond the ecological: biological invasions alter natural selection on a native plant species. Ecology 89:1023–1031. doi:10.1890/06-1999.1 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  31. Leduc A, Drapeau P, Bergeron Y et al (1992) Study of spatial components of forest cover using partial Mantel tests and path analysis. J Veg Sci 3:69–78. doi:10.2307/3236000 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Legendre P, Legendre L (1998) Numerical ecology, 2nd edn. Elsevier, AmsterdamGoogle Scholar
  33. Leibold MA, Holyoak M, Mouquet N, Amarasekare P, Chase JM, Hoopes MF, Holt RD, Shurin JB, Law R, Tilman D, Loreau M, Gonzalez A (2004) The metacommunity concept: a framework for multi-scale community ecology. Ecol Lett 7:601–613. doi:10.1111/j.1461-0248.2004.00608.x CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Link PK, Phoenix EC (1994) Rocks, rails, and trails. Idaho State University Press, PocatelloGoogle Scholar
  35. Lockwood JL, Simberloff D, McKinney ML et al (2001) How many, and which, plants will invade natural areas? Biol Invasions 3:1–8. doi:10.1023/A:1011412820174 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Lomolino MV (2000) A call for a new paradigm of island biogeography. Glob Ecol Biogeogr 9:1–6. doi:10.1046/j.1365-2699.2000.00185.x CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Lomolino MV, Brown JH, Davis R (1989) Island biogeography of montane forest mammals in the American Southwest. Ecology 70:180–194. doi:10.2307/1938425 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. MacArthur RH, Wilson EO (1967) The theory of island biogeography. Princeton University Press, PrincetonGoogle Scholar
  39. Mack RN, Simberloff D, Lonsdale MW et al (2000) Biotic invasions: causes, epidemiology, global consequences, and control. Ecol Appl 10:689–710. doi:10.1890/1051-0761(2000)010[0689:BICEGC]2.0.CO;2 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Mooney HA, Cleland EE (2001) The evolutionary impact of invasive species. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 98:5446–5451. doi:10.1073/pnas.091093398 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  41. Niering WA, Whittaker RH, Lowe CH (1963) The saguaro: a population in relation to environment. Science 142:15–27. doi:10.1126/science.142.3588.15 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  42. Orrock JL, Witter MS, Reichman OJ (2008) Apparent competition with an exotic plant reduces native plant establishment. Ecology 89:1168–1174. doi:10.1890/07-0223.1 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  43. Patterson BD, Atmar W (1986) Nested subsets and the structure of insular mammalian faunas and archipelagos. Biol J Linn Soc Lond 28:65–82. doi:10.1111/j.1095-8312.1986.tb01749.x CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Pimentel D, Lach L, Zuniga R et al (2000) Environmental and economic costs of nonindigenous species in the United States. Bioscience 50:53–65. doi:10.1641/0006-3568(2000)050[0053:EAECON]2.3.CO;2 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Popovich SJ (2006) Checklist of vascular plants. Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve (CRMO) Arco, Idaho, 72 pp (http://www.nps.gov/crmo/naturescience/upload/CRMO_Final_2006_Plant_Checklist_10-15-06.pdf)
  46. Prevey J (2008) Loss of foundation species and invasion by exotic plants: the role of soil water partitioning. M.S. Thesis, Idaho State University, Pocatello, 99 ppGoogle Scholar
  47. Pulliam RH (1988) Sources, sinks, and population regulation. Am Nat 132:652–661. doi:10.1086/284880 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Salo LF (2005) Red brome (Bromus rubens subsp. madritensis) in North America: possible modes for early introductions, subsequent spread. Biol Invasions 7:165–180. doi:10.1007/s10530-004-8979-4 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Sax DF, Whittaker RJ (2004) Diversity gradients. In: Lomolino MV, Heaney LR (eds) Frontiers in biogeography: new directions in the geography of nature. Sinauer, Sunderland, pp 145–149Google Scholar
  50. Scheiner SM (2004) Experiments, observations, and other kinds of evidence. In: Taper ML, Lele SR (eds) The nature of scientific evidence: statistical, philosophical, and empirical considerations. University of Chicago Press, Chicago, pp 51–71Google Scholar
  51. Shmida A, Wilson MV (1985) Biological determinants of species diversity. J Biogeogr 12:1–20. doi:10.2307/2845026 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Smith SD, Monson RK, Anderson JE (1996) Physiological ecology of North American desert plants. Springer, New York, p 286Google Scholar
  53. Sutton JR, Stohlgren TJ, Beck KG (2007) Predicting yellow toadflax infestations in the Flat Tops Wilderness of Colorado. Biol Invasions 9:783–793. doi:10.1007/s10530-006-9075-8 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Tisdale EW, Hironaka M, Fosberg MA (1965) An area of pristine vegetation in Craters of the Moon National Monument, Idaho. Ecology 46:349–352. doi:10.2307/1936343 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Trombulak SC, Frissell CA (2000) Review of ecological effects of roads on terrestrial and aquatic communities. Conserv Biol 14:18–30. doi:10.1046/j.1523-1739.2000.99084.x CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Tyser RW, Worley CA (1992) Alien flora in grasslands adjacent to road and trail corridors in Glacier National Park, Montana (USA). Conserv Biol 6:253–262. doi:10.1046/j.1523-1739.1992.620253.x CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Welch BL (2005) Big sagebrush: a sea fragmented into lakes, ponds, and puddles. Gen. Tech. Rep. RMRS-GTR-114. Fort Collins, CO: US Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, 210 ppGoogle Scholar
  58. Whittaker RJ (2004) Dynamic hypotheses of richness on islands and continents. In: Lomolino MV, Heaney LR (eds) Frontiers in biogeography: new directions in the geography of nature. Sinauer, Sunderland, pp 211–231Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Biological Sciences and Center for Ecological Research and EducationIdaho State UniversityPocatelloUSA
  2. 2.National Science FoundationArlingtonUSA

Personalised recommendations