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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Albany, California » Western Regional Research Center » Invasive Species and Pollinator Health » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #374375

Research Project: Enhancing Water Resources Stewardship through Aquatic and Riparian Weed Management

Location: Invasive Species and Pollinator Health

Title: Weak Non-linear Influences of Biotic and Abiotic Factors on Invasive Macrophyte Occurrence

item FLEMING, JONATHAN - Samford University, School Of Public Health, Department Of Nutrition And Dietetics
item WERSAL, RYAN - Minnesota State University
item Madsen, John
item DIBBLE, ERIC - Mississippi State University

Submitted to: Aquatic Invasions
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 12/7/2020
Publication Date: 2/19/2021
Citation: Fleming, J.P., Wersal, R.M., Madsen, J.D., Dibble, E.D. 2021. Weak Non-linear Influences of Biotic and Abiotic Factors on Invasive Macrophyte Occurrence. Aquatic Invasions. 16(2):349-364.

Interpretive Summary: The present study, using data on macrophyte diversity and community composition for lakes across the United States, found that none of the popular theories for the relationship between species diversity and invasibility of a lake by nonnative macrophytes fit the empirical data.

Technical Abstract: Aquatic plants (macrophytes) are important components of freshwater ecosystems and serve numerous functions, both physical and biological, that help to structure aquatic communities. However, invasive macrophytes may negatively alter ecosystem properties. Non-native, invasive species have been identified as a major cause of biodiversity loss and the increasing prevalence of invasive species has prompted studies to help understand their impacts and to conserve biodiversity. Studying mechanisms of invasion also gives ecological insight into how communities are structured and assembled. This study examined a set of classic invasion mechanisms/hypotheses including biotic resistance, disturbance, and stress using mixed-effects models on survey data collected from twenty-nine lakes across the United States. The results of this study indicated that biotic interaction, disturbance, and stress interact, often in non-linear ways to influence probability of invasive species occurrence at a given location; however, models explained a relatively low percentage of variation in probabilities. It is likely that strong predictive principles governing macrophyte invasions do not exist, at least among comparisons across ecosystem types. However, ecologists should continue to search for general patterns within definable ecosystem units to increase understanding about factors contributing to invasibility.