Advertisement

Biological Invasions

, Volume 3, Issue 1, pp 51–68 | Cite as

Modification of Sediments and Macrofauna by an Invasive Marsh Plant

  • T.S. Talley
  • L.A. Levin
Article

Abstract

Invasive grasses have recently altered salt marsh ecosystems throughout the northern hemisphere. On the eastern seaboard of the USA, Phragmites australis has invaded both brackish and salt marsh habitats. Phragmites australis influence on sediments and fauna was investigated along a salinity and invasion-age gradient in marshes of the lower Connecticut River estuary. Typical salinities were about 19–24 ppt in Site I, 9–10 ppt in Site II and 5–7 ppt in Site III. Strongest effects were evident in the least saline settings (II and III) where Phragmites has been present the longest and exists in monoculture. Limited influence was evident in the most saline region (I) where Phragmites and native salt marsh plants co-occur. The vegetation within Phragmites stands in tidal regions of the Connecticut River generally exhibits taller, but less dense shoots, higher above-ground biomass, and lower below-ground biomass than does the un-invaded marsh flora. There were lower sediment organic content, greater litter accumulation and higher sediment chlorophyll a concentrations in Phragmites- invaded than un-invaded marsh habitat. Epifaunal gastropods (Succinea wilsoni and Stagnicola catascopium) were less abundant in habitats where Phragmites had invaded than in un-invaded marsh habitat. Macro-infaunal densities were lower in the Phragmites-invaded than un-invaded habitats at the two least saline sites (II and III). Phragmites stands supported more podurid insects, sabellid polychaetes, and peracarid crustaceans, fewer arachnids, midges, tubificid and enchytraeid oligochaetes, and greater habitat-wide taxon richness as measured by rarefaction, than did the un-invaded stands. The magnitude and significance of the compositional differences varied with season and with site; differences were generally greatest at the oldest, least saline sites (II and III) and during May, when faunal densities were higher than in September. However, experimental design and the 1-year study period precluded clear separation of salinity, age, and seasonal effects. Although structural effects of Phragmites on salt marsh faunas are evident, further investigation is required to determine the consequences of these effects for ecosystem function.

Connecticut habitat alteration invasion invertebrates Juncus gerardii New England Phragmites australis Spartina patens tidal marsh 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Bart D andHartman JM (2000) Environmental determinants of Phragmites australis expansion in a New Jersey salt marsh: an experimental approach. Oikos 89: 59-69CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Benoit LK andAskins RA (1999) Impact of the spread of Phragmites on the distribution of birds in Connecticut tidal marshes. Wetlands 19: 194-208Google Scholar
  3. Besitka MAR (1996) An ecological and historical study of Phragmites australis along the Atlantic coast. Masters Thesis, Drexel University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA, 55 ppGoogle Scholar
  4. Brulisauer A andKlotzli F (1998) Habitat factors related to the invasion of reeds (Phragmites australis) into wet meadows of the Swiss Midlands. Zeitschrift fuer Oekologie und Naturschutz 7: 125-136Google Scholar
  5. Callaway JC andJosselyn MN (1992) The introduction and spread of smooth cordgrass (Spartina alterniflora) in south San Francisco Bay. Estuaries 15: 218-226CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Chambers RM,Meyerson LA andSaltonstall K (1999) Expansion of Phragmites australis into tidal wetlands of North America. Aquatic Botany 64: 261-273CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Clarke KR andWarwick RM (1994) Changes in marine communities: an approach to statistical analysis and interpretation. Natural Environmental Research Council, United Kingdom, and Plymouth Marine Laboratory, Plymouth, UKGoogle Scholar
  8. Crooks JA (1998) Habitat alteration and community-level effects of an exotic mussel, Musculista senhousia. Marine Ecology Progress Series 162: 137-152Google Scholar
  9. Eckman JE (1987) The role of hydrodynamics in recruitment, growth, and survival of Argopecten irradians (L.) and Anomia simplex (D'Orbigny) within eelgrass meadows. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 106: 165-191CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Eckman JE (1990) A model of passive settlement by planktonic larvae onto bottoms of differing roughness. Limnology and Oceanography 35: 887-901Google Scholar
  11. Fell PE,Weissbach SP,Jones DA,Fallon MA,Zeppieri JA,Faison EK,Lennon KA,Newberry KJ andReddington LK (1998) Does invasion of oligohaline tidal marshes by reed grass, Phragmites australis (Cav.) Trin. ex Steud. affect the availability of prey resources for the mummichog, Fundulus heteroclitus L.? Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 222: 59-77CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Fonseca MS,Fisher JS,Zieman JC andThayer GW (1982) Influence of the seagrass, Zostera marina L., on current flow. Estuarine Coastal and Shelf Science 15: 351-364CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Frid C andJames R (1989) The marine invertebrate fauna of a British coastal salt marsh. Holarctic Ecology 12: 9-15Google Scholar
  14. Harrison EZ andBloom AL (1977) Sedimentation rates on tidal salt marshes in Connecticut. Journal of Sedimentary Petrology 47: 1484-1490Google Scholar
  15. Hickman JC (1993) The Jepson Manual: Higher Plants of California. University of California Press, Los Angeles, 1400 ppGoogle Scholar
  16. Hurlbert S (1971) The nonconcept of species diversity: a critique and alternative parameters. Ecology 52: 577-586CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Kneib RT (1985) Predation and disturbance by grass shrimp, Palaemonetes pugio, in soft-substratum benthic invertebrate assemblages. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 93: 91-102CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Kneib RT (1986) The role of Fundulus heteroclitus in salt marsh trophic dynamics. American Zoologist 26: 259-269Google Scholar
  19. Koppitz H (1999) Analysis of genetic diversity among selected populations of Phragmites australis world-wide. Aquatic Botany 64: 209-221CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Levin LA (1984) Life history and dispersal patterns in a dense infaunal polychaete assemblage: Community structure and response to disturbance. Ecology 65: 1185-1200CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Levin LA andTalley TS (2000) Influences of vegetation and abiotic environmental factors on salt marsh benthos. In: Weinstein MP andKreeger DA( eds) Concepts and Controversies in Tidal Marsh Ecology, pp 661-708. Kluwer Academic Publishers, Dordrecht, The NetherlandsGoogle Scholar
  22. Levin LA,Talley TS andHewitt J (1998) Macrobenthos of Spartina foliosa (Pacific cordgrass) salt marshes in southern California: Community structure and comparison to a Pacific mudflat and a Spartina alterniflora (Atlantic smooth cordgrass) marsh. Estuaries 21: 129-144CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Marsh AG andTenore KR (1990) The role of nutrition in regulating the population dynamics of opportunistic, surface deposit feeders in a mesohaline community. Limnology and Oceanography 35: 710-724Google Scholar
  24. McAleece N, Lambshead PJD, Paterson GLJ and Gage JD (1999) Biodiversity Pro. Freeware at http://www.nrmc.demon. co.uk/bdpro/Google Scholar
  25. Meyerson LA,Saltonstall K,Windham L,Kiviat E andFindlay S (2000) A comparison of Phragmites australis in freshwater and brackish marsh environments in North America. Wetlands Ecology and Management 8: 89-103CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Nichols FH,Cloern JE,Luoma SN andPeterson DH (1986) The modification of an estuary. Science (Washington DC) 231: 567-573Google Scholar
  27. Niering WA andWarren RS (1980a) Vegetation patterns and processes in New England salt marshes. Bioscience 30: 301-307CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Niering WA andWarren RS (1980b) Salt marsh plants of Connecticut. The Connecticut College Arboretum Bulletin 25. The Connecticut College Arboretum, New London, ConnecticutGoogle Scholar
  29. Niering WA,Warren RS andWeymouth CG (1977) Our dynamic tidal marshes: vegetation changes as revealed by peat analysis. The Connecticut College Arboretum Bulletin 22. The Connecticut College Arboretum, New London, ConnecticutGoogle Scholar
  30. Nijburg JW andLaanbroek HJ (1997) The fate of 15N-nitrate in healthy and declining Phragmites australis stands. Microbial Ecology 34: 254-262PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Orians GH (1986) Site characteristics favoring invasions. In: Mooney HA andDrake JA (eds) Ecology of Biological Invasions of North America and Hawaii, pp 133-148. Springer-Verlag, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  32. Pellegrin D andHauber DP (1999) Isozyme variation among populations of the clonal species, Phragmites australis (Cav.) Trin. ex Steudel. Aquatic Botany 63: 241-259CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Peterson CH (1982) Clam predation by whelks (Busycon spp.): Experimental tests of the importance of prey size, prey density, and seagrass cover. Marine Biology 66: 159-170CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Peterson CH,Summerson HC andDuncan PB (1984) The influence of seagrass cover on population structure and individual growth rate of a suspension-feeding bivalve, Mercenaria mercenaria. Journal of Marine Research 42: 123-138CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Piehler MF,Currin CA,Cassanova R andPaerl HW (1998) Development and N2-fixing activity of the benthic microbial community in transplanted Spartina alterniflora marshes in North Carolina. Restoration Ecology 6: 290-296CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Posey MH (1988) Community changes associated with the spread of an introduced seagrass, Zostera japonica. Ecology 69: 974-983CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Posey MH,Wigand C andStevenson JC (1993) Effects of an introduced aquatic plant, Hydrilla verticillata on benthic communities in the upper Chesapeake Bay. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science 37: 539-555CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Roman CT (1978) Tidal restriction: its impact on the vegetation of six Connecticut coastal marshes. Masters Thesis, Connecticut College, New London, ConnecticutGoogle Scholar
  39. Roman CT,Niering WA andWarren RS (1984) Salt marsh vegetation change in response to tidal restriction. Environmental Management 8: 141-150CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Rozsa R (1995) Human impacts on tidal wetlands: History and regulations. In: Dreyer GD andNiering WA (eds) Tidal Marshes of Long Island Sound: Ecology, History and Restoration. The Connecticut College Arboretum Bulletin No. 34, pp 42-50. Connecticut College Arboretum, New London, ConnecticutGoogle Scholar
  41. Ruiz GM,Carlton JT,Grosholz ED andHines AH (1997) Global invasions of marine and estuarine habitats by non-indigenous species: Mechanisms, extent, and consequences. American Zoologist 37: 621-632Google Scholar
  42. Sarda R,Foreman K andValiela I (1995) Macroinfauna of a southern New England salt marsh: seasonal dynamics and production. Marine Biology Berlin 121: 431-445CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Summerson HC andPeterson CH (1984) Role of predation in organizing benthic communities of a temperate-zone seagrass bed. Marine Ecology Progress Series 15: 63-77Google Scholar
  44. Takeda S andKurihara Y (1988) The effects of the reed, Phragmites australis (Trin.), on substratum grain-size distribution in a salt marsh. Journal of the Oceanographical Society of Japan 44: 103-112CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Trueblood DD,Gallagher ED andGould DM (1994) Three stages of seasonal succession on the Savin Hill Cove mudflat, Boston Harbor. Limnology and Oceanography 39: 1140-1454CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Wainright SC,Weinstein MP,Able KW andCurrin CA (2000) Relative importance of benthic microalgae, phytoplankton, and the detritus of smooth cordgrass (Spartina) and the common reed (Phragmites) to brackish marsh food webs. Marine Ecology Progress Series 200: 77-91Google Scholar
  47. Warren RS andFell PE (1995) Tidal wetland ecology of Long Island Sound. In: Dreyer GD andNiering WA (eds) Tidal Marshes of Long Island Sound: Ecology, History and Restoration. The Connecticut College Arboretum Bulletin No. 34, pp 22-41. Connecticut College Arboretum, New London, ConnecticutGoogle Scholar
  48. Warren RS andFell PE (1996) Phragmites australis on the lower Connecticut River: impacts on emergent wetlands and estuarine waters. Final report to the Long Island Sound Research Fund for Contract#CWF318R. Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection, Hartford, ConnecticutGoogle Scholar
  49. Weinstein MP andBalletto JH (1999) Does the common reed, Phragmites australis, affect essential fish habitat? Estuaries 22: 793-802CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Wilcox DA andMeeker JE (1992) Implications for faunal habitat related to altered macrophyte structure in regulated lakes in northern Minnesota. Wetlands 12: 192-203CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Windham L andLathrop RG (1999) Effects of Phragmites australis (common reed) invasion on aboveground biomass and soil properties in brackish tidal marsh of the Mullica River, New Jersey. Estuaries 22: 927-935CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Zipperer VT (1996) Ecological effects of the introduced cordgrass, Spartina alterniflora, on the benthic community structure of Willapa Bay, Washington. Masters Thesis. University of Washington, Seattle, Washington, 119 ppGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Marine Life Research GroupScripps Institution of OceanographyLa JollaUSA

Personalised recommendations