Biological Invasions

, Volume 19, Issue 8, pp 2491–2502 | Cite as

Effects of invasive aquatic carrion on soil chemistry and terrestrial microbial communities

  • Adriana Novais
  • Cláudia Pascoal
  • Ronaldo Sousa
Original Paper


Carrion plays a crucial role in the recycling of nutrients and organic matter in ecosystems. Yet, despite their ecological importance, studies addressing the relevance of carrion originated from invasive alien species (IAS) in the interface between aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems are uncommon, especially those assessing belowground effects. In this study, we carried out a manipulative experiment to assess the impact of massive mortalities of the Asian clam Corbicula fluminea (Müller, 1774) as a carrion subsidy evaluating possible effects on the terrestrial soil chemistry and the structure of a microbial (bacteria and fungi) community. We placed five levels of C. fluminea density (0, 100, 500, 1000 and 2000 ind. m−2) and samples were collected 7, 30 and 90 days after clams’ addition. The results revealed that C. fluminea carrion have a significant effect belowground, especially on nutrients content (mainly NH4 +, NO2 , NO3 and PO4 3−), fungal biomass and fungal and bacterial diversity. Given the predicted increase and intensification of extreme climatic events and the widespread distribution of several aquatic IAS (including bivalve species such as C. fluminea) the ecological importance of these massive mortalities (and resulting carrion) cannot be ignored because they may affect microbial communities with significant impacts on nutrient cycling, even in adjacent terrestrial habitats.


Invasive alien species Corbicula fluminea Nutrients Bacteria Fungi Resource pulse Minho River 



Adriana Novais was supported by a Ph.D. Grant (SFRH/BD/86463/2012) from the Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT) through POPH/FSE funds. The study was supported by (1) the project ECO-IAS: Ecosystem-level impacts of an invasive alien species funded by the FCT and COMPETE funds (PTDC/AAC-AMB/116685/2010), and (2) the strategic program UID/BIA/04050/2013 (POCI-01-0145-FEDER-007569) funded by national funds through the FCT I.P. and the ERDF through the COMPETE2020—Programa Operacional Competitividade e Internacionalização (POCI). Authors thank the anonymous reviewers for valuable suggestions, which contributed to improve the manuscript; Cristiana Araújo, Maria José Araújo and Maria Luis Miranda for their help on experimental setup; Ester Dias and William McDowell for their help on one sampling campaign, and Martina Ilarri for help on statistical analysis.

Supplementary material

10530_2017_1459_MOESM1_ESM.docx (20 kb)
Table S1 Mean (± SEM) of organic C and total N (%), NH4 +, NO2 , NO3 , PO4 3−, Ca and K (mg kg−1) and two-way PERMANOVA results at different densities of C. fluminea (0, 100, 500, 1000 and 2000 ind. m−2) and sampling times (7, 30 and 90 days) and their interaction term. * = p < 0.05; ns = non-significant (DOCX 20 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Adriana Novais
    • 1
  • Cláudia Pascoal
    • 1
    • 2
  • Ronaldo Sousa
    • 1
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Biology, CBMA – Centre of Molecular and Environmental BiologyUniversity of MinhoBragaPortugal
  2. 2.Institute for Science and Innovation for Bio-sustainability (IB-S)University of MinhoBragaPortugal
  3. 3.CIIMAR/CIMAR – Interdisciplinary Centre of Marine and Environmental ResearchUniversity of PortoPortoPortugal

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