All change at the water's edge: invasion by non-native riparian plants negatively impacts terrestrial invertebrates



Seeney A, Eastwood S, Pattison Z, Willby N & Bull C (2019) All change at the water's edge: invasion by non-native riparian plants negatively impacts terrestrial invertebrates. Biological Invasions, 21 (6), pp. 1933-1946.

Riparian zones are complex, dynamic habitats that play a critical role in river ecosystem functioning. Terrestrial invertebrates comprise much of the diversity found in riparian habitats and facilitate the transfer of energy between aquatic and terrestrial systems. However, the consequences for terrestrial invertebrates of invasion of riparian zones by invasive non-native plants (INNP) remain poorly understood. Responses of terrestrial macroinvertebrate morphospecies to invasion by two common INNP, Fallopia japonica (Japanese knotweed) and Impatiens glandulifera (Himalayan balsam) were assessed, relative to local environmental factors. Terrestrial invertebrates were collected from 20 sites on low order streams in June and August alongside data on physical attributes and land use. Greater cover of F. japonica and I. glandulifera cover reduced total invertebrate abundance and morphospecies diversity at the individual sample scale, whilst increasing spatial heterogeneity of invertebrates at the site scale. Impatiens glandulifera reduced morphospecies diversity at the site scale with increasing cover, but this was not observed for F. japonica. INNP affected terrestrial invertebrate morphospecies abundance and diversity, to a greater extent than prevailing environmental conditions. Our findings therefore offer support for managing riparian plant invasions to improve habitat heterogeneity, restore terrestrial invertebrate diversity and repair aquatic-terrestrial linkages.

Diversity; Fallopia japonica; Impatiens glandulifera; Invasive species; Morphospecies

Biological Invasions: Volume 21, Issue 6

FundersScottish Natural Heritage
Publication date30/06/2019
Publication date online26/02/2019
Date accepted by journal16/02/2019

People (3)


Dr Colin Bull

Dr Colin Bull

Senior Lecturer in Aquaculture, Institute of Aquaculture

Dr Zarah Pattison

Dr Zarah Pattison

Senior Lecturer in Plant Sciences, Biological and Environmental Sciences

Professor Nigel Willby

Professor Nigel Willby

Professor & Associate Dean of Research, Biological and Environmental Sciences