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Willow (Salix × rubens) invasion of the riparian zone in south-eastern Australia: reduced abundance and altered composition of terrestrial arthropods

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This study investigated the impact of invasion by an alien hybrid willow (the white-crack willow, Salix × rubens) on the abundance and diversity of terrestrial arthropods along the lower Tarago River in south-eastern Australia in spring and summer. Canopy arthropods were sampled by branch clippings, flying insects by sticky traps, and arthropod stream inputs by floating pan traps in willow-invaded and uninvaded river sections. Willow-invaded river sections had a significantly lower abundance and diversity of canopy arthropods, but the abundance and diversity of flying insects did not differ between willow-invaded and native sections. Overall input of terrestrial arthropods was lower in willow-invaded sections but this depended on sampling date. In general, differences in arthropod abundance between willow-invaded and native river sections were greater in spring than summer, which may reflect seasonal changes in resource availability in native river sections. Morphospecies composition also differed significantly between willow-invaded and native sections. These changes in abundance, diversity, and composition of terrestrial arthropods following plant invasion of the riparian zone may indirectly alter in-stream food webs and have important effects on higher-order consumers in the riparian zone.

Keywords: Arthropods; Salix; biological invasions; indirect effects; riparian zone; stream; terrestrial-aquatic links

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Australian Centre for Biodiversity, School of Biological Sciences, PO Box 18, Monash University, Victoria 3800 Australia., Email:

Publication date: 2004-09-01

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