Biological Invasions

, Volume 4, Issue 4, pp 441–446

The Importance of Detritivore Species Diversity for Maintaining Stream Ecosystem Functioning Following the Invasion of a Riparian Plant

  • Olivier Dangles
  • Micael Jonsson
  • Björn Malmqvist


The strength of linkages between riparian plants and stream communities can be expected to be influenced by invading plants. While most studies so far have been focussed on the effects of the leaf litter quality of the invader, this study addresses the impact of detritivores on the pool of detritus. In a natural setting, we found that species richness of shredding macroinvertebrates significantly influenced the breakdown rate of an invasive weed species, the Japanese knotweed (Fallopia japonica), which has become a major plant invader along streams and rivers in Europe and North America. Our findings imply that a reduction of the diversity of shredder species, which may be the result of disturbances, could negatively influence stream ecosystems' capacity of processing knotweed leaves. Although the knotweed showed breakdown rates similar to those of common native tree and shrub species, other exotic leaf species might show considerably slower rates and hence have greater consequences for the ecosystems. We have, in this study, indicated a technique by which the effects of other non-indigenous plants on ecosystem functioning might be considered.

aquatic invertebrates detritivores ecosystem functioning Japanese knotweed leaf breakdown riparian habitats species loss 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • Olivier Dangles
    • 1
  • Micael Jonsson
    • 1
  • Björn Malmqvist
    • 1
  1. 1.Laboratoire Ecotoxicité, Biodiversité, Santé Environnementale, Université de Metz, Rue du Général Délestraint, F-57070 Metz, France; Department of Ecology and Environmental ScienceUmeå UniversityUmeåSweden
  2. 2.I.R.B.I. – Faculté des Sciences et TechniquesToursFrance

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