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Appears in Collections:Biological and Environmental Sciences Journal Articles
Peer Review Status: Refereed
Title: Invasion legacy effects versus sediment deposition as drivers of riparian vegetation
Author(s): Pattison, Zarah
Whytock, Robin
Willby, Nigel
Keywords: Diversity
Flow regime
Impatiens glandulifera
Sediment deposition
Structural equation modelling
Issue Date: 31-May-2018
Citation: Pattison Z, Whytock R & Willby N (2018) Invasion legacy effects versus sediment deposition as drivers of riparian vegetation, Biological Invasions, 20 (5), pp. 1189-1198.
Abstract: Riparian zones are formed by interactions between fluvio-geomorphological processes, such as sediment deposition, and biota, such as vegetation. Establishment of invasive alien plant (IAP) species along rivers may influence vegetation dynamics, evidenced as higher seasonal or inter-annual fluctuations in native plant diversity when IAP cover is high. This could impact the overall functioning of riparian ecosystems. Conversely, fine sediment deposited in riparian zones after floods may replenish propagule banks, thus supporting recruitment of native species. The interactive effects of invasion and fine sediment deposition have hitherto, however, been ignored. Vegetation surveys across rivers varying in flow regime were carried out over 2 years to assess changes in community composition and diversity. Artificial turf mats were used to quantify over-winter sediment deposition. The viable propagule bank in soil and freshly deposited sediment was then quantified by germination trials. Structural Equation Models were used to assess causal pathways between environmental variables, IAPs and native vegetation. Greater variation in flow increased the cover of IAPs along riverbanks. An increased in high flow events and sediment deposition were positively associated with the diversity of propagules deposited. However, greater diversity of propagules did not result in a more diverse plant community at invaded sites, as greater cover of IAPs in summer reduced native plant diversity. Seasonal turnover in the above-ground vegetation was also accentuated at previously invaded sites, suggesting that a legacy of increased competition in previous years, not recent sediment deposition, drives above-ground vegetation structure at invaded sites. The interaction between fluvial disturbance via sediment deposition and invasion pressure is of growing importance in the management of riparian habitats. Our results suggest that invasion can uncouple the processes that contribute to resilience in dynamic habitats making already invaded habitats vulnerable to further invasions.
DOI Link: 10.1007/s10530-017-1619-6
Rights: © The Author(s) 2017 This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.

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