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Influences of disturbance and vegetation on abundance of native and exotic detritivores in a southwestern riparian forest

Posted date: July 19, 2007
Publication Year: 
2006
Authors: Smith, Max; Kelly, Jeffrey F.; Finch, Deborah M.
Publication Series: 
Scientific Journal (JRNL)
Source: Environmental Entomology. 35(6): 1525-1531.

Abstract

Detritivores play important roles in energy and nutrient flow in riparian ecosystems. Endemic crickets (Gryllus alogus Rehn) and exotic isopods (Armadillidium vulagare Latreille and Porcellio laevi Latreille.) are abundant detritivores in riparian forest floors of central New Mexico. To determine how disturbance history affects the abundance of these detritivores, we installed pitfall traps in plots that had flooded, burned, or had no recent disturbance. We also measured vegetation composition to examine the relationship between plant community composition and detritivore abundance. Crickets were most abundant in the two plots that had flooded but were rare in recently burned, nonflooded plots. Isopods were most abundant in a wildfire plot with high vegetation density and mesic conditions but were also abundant in unburned plots. Isopods were rare in the plots that had recently burned or had flooded. Multiple regression model selection results suggest that cricket abundance is best explained by plot-related variables and is partly explained by recent disturbance history. Isopod abundance was best explained by disturbance history and vegetation characteristics. Cricket abundance was positively associated with flooding while isopod abundance was positively associated with vegetation density and fire and negatively associated with flooding and exotic saltcedar. These results show that flooding can lessen the negative impact of wildfire on native detritivores and reduce the abundance of exotic species.

Citation

Smith, D. Max; Kelly, Jeffrey F.; Finch, Deborah M. 2006. Influences of disturbance and vegetation on abundance of native and exotic detritivores in a southwestern riparian forest. Environmental Entomology. 35(6): 1525-1531.