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Using multi-scale species distribution data to infer drivers of biological invasion in riparian wetlands

Using multi-scale species distribution data to infer drivers of biological invasion in riparian wetlands
Using multi-scale species distribution data to infer drivers of biological invasion in riparian wetlands
Aim:? Biological invasion is a major conservation problem that is of interest to ecological science. Understanding mechanisms of invasion is a high priority, heightened by the management imperative of acting quickly after species introduction. While information about invading species’ ecology is often unavailable, species distribution data can be collected near the onset of invasion. By examining distribution patterns of exotic and native plant species at multiple spatial scales, we aim to identify the scale (of those studied) that accounts for most variability in exotic species abundance, and infer likely drivers of invasion.

Location:? River Murray wetlands, south-eastern Australia.

Methods:? A nested, crossed survey design was used to determine the extent of variation in wetland plant abundance, grazing intensity and water depth at four spatial scales (reaches, wetland clumps, wetlands, wetland sections), and among three Depth-strata. We examined responses of exotic and native species groups (grouped into terrestrial and amphibious taxa), native weeds and 10 individual species using hierarchical ANOVA.

Results:? As a group dominated by terrestrial taxa, exotic species cover varied at reach-, wetland- and section-scales. This likely reflects differences in abiotic characteristics and propagule pressure at these scales. Groups based on native species did not vary at any scale examined. Cover of 10 species mostly varied among and within wetlands (patterns unrelated to species’ origin or functional group), but species’ responses differed, despite individual plants being similar in size. While flora mostly varied among wetlands, exotic cover varied most among reaches (26%), which was attributed to hydrological modification and human activities.

Main conclusions:? Multi-scale surveys can rapidly identify factors likely to affect species’ distributions and can indicate where future research should be directed. By highlighting disproportionate variation in exotic cover among reaches, this study suggests that flow regulation and human-mediated dispersal facilitate exotic plant invasion in River Murray wetlands.
1366-9516
20-32
Catford, Jane A.
13355676-9979-4a37-8b90-5ffe4080286a
Downes, Barbara J.
f8ea924d-32bb-45bd-9946-b0f342ad8735
Catford, Jane A.
13355676-9979-4a37-8b90-5ffe4080286a
Downes, Barbara J.
f8ea924d-32bb-45bd-9946-b0f342ad8735

Catford, Jane A. and Downes, Barbara J. (2010) Using multi-scale species distribution data to infer drivers of biological invasion in riparian wetlands. Diversity and Distributions, 16 (1), 20-32. (doi:10.1111/j.1472-4642.2009.00631.x).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Aim:? Biological invasion is a major conservation problem that is of interest to ecological science. Understanding mechanisms of invasion is a high priority, heightened by the management imperative of acting quickly after species introduction. While information about invading species’ ecology is often unavailable, species distribution data can be collected near the onset of invasion. By examining distribution patterns of exotic and native plant species at multiple spatial scales, we aim to identify the scale (of those studied) that accounts for most variability in exotic species abundance, and infer likely drivers of invasion.

Location:? River Murray wetlands, south-eastern Australia.

Methods:? A nested, crossed survey design was used to determine the extent of variation in wetland plant abundance, grazing intensity and water depth at four spatial scales (reaches, wetland clumps, wetlands, wetland sections), and among three Depth-strata. We examined responses of exotic and native species groups (grouped into terrestrial and amphibious taxa), native weeds and 10 individual species using hierarchical ANOVA.

Results:? As a group dominated by terrestrial taxa, exotic species cover varied at reach-, wetland- and section-scales. This likely reflects differences in abiotic characteristics and propagule pressure at these scales. Groups based on native species did not vary at any scale examined. Cover of 10 species mostly varied among and within wetlands (patterns unrelated to species’ origin or functional group), but species’ responses differed, despite individual plants being similar in size. While flora mostly varied among wetlands, exotic cover varied most among reaches (26%), which was attributed to hydrological modification and human activities.

Main conclusions:? Multi-scale surveys can rapidly identify factors likely to affect species’ distributions and can indicate where future research should be directed. By highlighting disproportionate variation in exotic cover among reaches, this study suggests that flow regulation and human-mediated dispersal facilitate exotic plant invasion in River Murray wetlands.

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More information

Published date: January 2010
Organisations: Environmental

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 400851
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/400851
ISSN: 1366-9516
PURE UUID: 1055f842-4638-427c-960f-2c5a72f42117

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Date deposited: 30 Sep 2016 11:06
Last modified: 15 Jul 2019 20:04

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