Native Macrophyte Density and Richness Affect the Invasiveness of a Tropical Poaceae SpeciesReport as inadecuate

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The role of the native species richness and density in ecosystem invasibility is a matter of concern for both ecologists and managers. We tested the hypothesis that the invasiveness of Urochloa arrecta non-native in the Neotropics is negatively affected by the species richness and abundance of native aquatic macrophytes in freshwater ecosystems. We first created four levels of macrophyte richness in a greenhouse richness experiment, and we then manipulated the densities of the same native species in a second experiment density experiment. When the native macrophytes were adults, fragments of U. arrecta were added, and their growth was assessed. Our results from the richness experiment corroborated the hypothesis of a negative relationship between the native species richness and the growth of U. arrecta, as measured by sprout length and root biomass. However, the resistance to invasion was not attributed to the presence of a particular native species with a greater competitive ability. In the density experiment, U. arrecta growth decreased significantly with an increased density of all five of the native species. Density strongly affected the performance of the Poaceae in a negative manner, suggesting that patches that are densely colonized by native macrophytes and less subject to disturbances will be more resistant to invasion than those that are poorly colonized and more commonly subjected to disturbances. Our density experiment also showed that some species exhibit a higher competitive ability than others sampling effect. Although native richness and abundance clearly limit the colonization and establishment of U. arrecta, these factors cannot completely prevent the invasion of aquatic ecosystems by this Poaceae species.

Author: Thaisa S. Michelan , Sidinei M. Thomaz, Luis M. Bini



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