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Fitzgerald, Courtney [1], Enochs, Brendan [2], Meindl, George [3].

Disentangling the effects of invasive species and plant traits on leaf litter colonization by soil invertebrates: are all invasive species created equal?

Invasive plant species pose a major threat to native biological communities across the globe, often disrupting ecosystem processes both above and below ground. In terrestrial communities, invasive plant species can drastically alter ecosystem dynamics through the introduction of their leaf litter. Plant materials, in the form of leaf litter, are a major contributor to nutrient cycling, affecting both future plant growth and soil fauna. Litter inputs across different plant species vary in both physical and nutritional quality, and litter fauna abundance and richness are known to vary with litter quality. Some studies suggest that invasive plant litter may be qualitatively different from native litter, which can differentially impact litter invertebrate communities. Specifically, invasive species often have high nutrient quality (usually high N, and low C:N ratio) relative to native species, and thus decompose more quickly leaving little litter cover later in the year. However, other studies suggest that the effects of plant litter are trait-based, and not all invasives are qualitatively similar. Understanding the impacts of invasive species on soil invertebrate communities, and whether or not we can generalize across all invasive species, is critical, as detritivorous litter-dwelling fauna are a major driver of litter decomposition and nutrient cycling, in conjunction with soil biota and fungi. The goal of this study is to determine if we can generalize the effects of invasive species on soil invertebrate communities by using leaf litter from multiple invasive and native species to assess differences in litter fauna colonization and physical and chemical leaf litter qualities over time.

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1 - Binghamton University, Biological Sciences, 4400 Vestal Pkwy E, Binghamton Unviersity, NY, 13902, USA
2 - Binghamton University, Biological Sciences, 4400 Vestal Pkwy E, Binghamton, NY, 13902, USA
3 - Binghamton University, Geological Sciences and Environmental Studies, 4400 Vestal Parkway E, Binghamton, NY, 13905, USA

none specified

Presentation Type: Poster
Session: P1, Ecology Posters
Location: Virtual/Virtual
Date: Monday, July 19th, 2021
Time: 5:00 PM(EDT)
Number: P1EC001
Abstract ID:154
Candidate for Awards:None

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