The Impact Of Biological Invasions On Food Webs

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3.2 Introduction A current goal of ecology is to understand the impacts of biological invasions on food-web structure and dynamics (Jackson et al. 2012; Simberloff et al. 2013; Lurgi et al. 2014). Research suggests that terrestrial food webs, which are depictions of biodiversity, species interactions, and ecosystem structure (Polis & Strong 1996), are dramatically altered following plant invasion (DeVore & Maerz 2014; McCary et al. 2016; Smith-Ramesh et al. 2016). For example, successful plant invaders can eliminate vital plant-herbivore linkages, resulting in transformed food-web interactions and ecosystem structure (Carvalheiro et al. 2010; Engelkes et al. 2012). Invasive plants can also alter bottom-up control of belowground food webs by …show more content…
Because the fungal-based food web is present in every terrestrial ecosystem (Bardgett & Wardle 2010; Crowther & Grossart 2015), has large influences on soil C and N retention (Schröter et al. 2003; De Vries et al. 2012; Waring et al. 2013), and supports a very diverse set of organisms (Maraun et al. 2003; Ruess & Lussenhop 2004; Van Der Heijden et al. 2008), examining the effects of invasive plants on this food web will provide insight into the key factors that structure this network of interactions. This study addresses this major topic in ecology by using the widespread North American plant invader, Alliaria petiolata (garlic mustard), as a model …show more content…
the soil food web), changes to basal resources will have cascading effects up the food web (Chen & Wise 1999; Scherber et al. 2010). Garlic mustard can reduce mycorrhizal fungal abundances (both ecto- and arbuscular) via allelopathy, which is an important resource for springtails and fungivorous mites (Chen et al. 1996). Arthropod predators such as spiders, centipedes, and predatory mites can all consume fungivores for prey in the soil food web (Chen & Wise 1999; Koehler 1999). Therefore I predict: (1) garlic mustard invasion will have a negative effect on soil fungivore and predator densities, with the response being more evident for fungivores. (2) The negative impacts of garlic mustard on fungivores and their predators are the result of negative indirect effects induced by reduction in soil

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