Impacts of Arundo donax on riparian habitats and ground dwelling arthropods
Arundo donax (Poaceae) is a perennial grass species native to Southern and Central Asia which has been used in cultivation for hundreds of years for its canes which are used as building material. The species is expanding rapidly along riparian habitats in Mediterranean-climate habitats where it can have negative impacts on native plant and associated invertebrate species. Previous studies conducted in the USA have shown that A. donax can reduce the abundance and diversity of native invertebrate communities when it invades a habitat. In the present study, 27 sampling sites were surveyed across three Mediterranean rivers in the north-east of Spain to evaluate the effects of A. donax on the invertebrate community. Each sampling site consisted of a patch of A. donax or native vegetation. Ground dwelling invertebrates were sampled using pitfall traps and Berlese funnel traps. The study detected a significant increase in the abundance of collembola and a decrease in the abundance, body size and diversity of macro-invertebrates at order and family level in invaded sites compared to uninvaded sites. Invaded sites had a simplified macro-invertebrate community structure suggesting that the presence of A. donax can significantly alter the habitat it invades.
Maceda-Veiga A, Basas H, Lanzaco G, Sala M, de Sostoa A, Serra A (2016) Impacts of the invader giant reed (Arundo donax) on riparian habitats and ground arthropod communities. Biological Invasions 18, 731-749.