Lake Michigan Beach, MI, United States
Lake Michigan Beach, MI, United States

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Emery S.M.,University of Louisville | Doran P.J.,Nature Conservancy in Michigan
Biological Conservation | Year: 2013

Invasive alien plants represent a global threat to biodiversity at multiple trophic levels, including arthropod communities which represent an important group of organisms in any ecosystem. Because of complex interactions among organisms, it becomes important when managing invasive plant species to consider impacts of both the invasion and management efforts on arthropods. In this study, we examined shifts in arthropod communities relative to invasion and management of Gypsophila paniculata (baby's breath), an invader of sand dune systems in Michigan, USA. We compared arthropod abundance and diversity for multiple trophic levels and functional guilds in invaded, managed, and reference plots from 2007 to 2010. Invaded plots had almost double the total numbers of arthropods and 20% more families than the reference and managed plots in 2008-2009. This was beyond a simple biomass effect due to the invasive plant. G. paniculata presence was also associated with an increase in sap-feeding herbivore abundance and dominance, increased pollinator and predator abundance, and increased family diversity in Hemiptera and Hymenoptera. There was no strong effect of management on arthropod communities, though a canonical analysis of principal coordinates indicated that reference and invaded plots were characterized by different families of arthropods. The consequences of these changes for the native plant community are unknown, and more mechanistic understandings of changes in biodiversity of higher trophic levels due to invasion and management are needed. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd.

Emery S.M.,University of Louisville | Doran P.J.,Nature Conservancy in Michigan | Legge J.T.,Nature Conservancy in Michigan | Kleitch M.,Nature Conservancy in Michigan | Howard S.,Nature Conservancy in Michigan
Restoration Ecology | Year: 2013

The removal of invasive species is often one of the first steps in restoring degraded habitats. However, studies evaluating effectiveness of invasive species removal are often limited in spatial and temporal scale, and lack evaluation of both aboveground and belowground effects on diversity and key processes. In this study, we present results of a large 3-year removal effort of the invasive species, Gypsophila paniculata, on sand dunes in northwest Michigan (USA). We measured G. paniculata abundance, plant species richness, plant community diversity, non-native plant cover, abundance of Cirsium pitcheri (a federally threatened species endemic to this habitat), sand movement, arbuscular mycorrhizal spore abundance, and soil nutrients in fifteen 1000m2 plots yearly from 2007 to 2010 in order to evaluate the effectiveness of manual removal of this species on dune restoration. Gypsophila paniculata cover was greatly reduced by management, but was not entirely eliminated from the area. Removal of G. paniculata shifted plant community composition to more closely resemble target reference plant communities but had no effect on total plant diversity, C. pitcheri abundance, or other non-native plant cover. Soil properties were generally unaffected by G. paniculata invasion or removal. The outlook is good for this restoration, as other non-native species do not appear to be staging a "secondary" invasion of this habitat. However, the successional nature of sand dunes means that they are already highly invasible, stressing the need for regular monitoring to ensure that restoration progresses. © 2012 Society for Ecological Restoration.

Cross M.D.,Central Michigan University | Root K.V.,Bowling Green State University | Mehne C.J.,Animal Clinic | McGowan-Stinski J.,Nature Conservancy in Michigan | And 3 more authors.
American Midland Naturalist | Year: 2015

The eastern massasauga rattlesnake (Sistrurus catenatus) is a threatened species that occurs in habitats frequently targeted by prescribed burns. There have been reports of massasauga mortality as a result of prescribed fires, but little is known regarding the indirect effects of fire on this species. The objective of this study was to monitor massasaugas during a prescribed fire to assess direct and indirect effects. We initially implanted radio transmitters in 13 massasaugas inhabiting an area targeted for periodic prescribed fires and tracked them following a prescribed fire to determine burn related-mortality and behavioral influences. Data loggers, temperature sensitive paint, and measuring posts were used to record detailed fire data. Of the five snakes on the burn unit at the time, two died as a result of the fire. No differences were observed in daily movements and home range sizes between burn categories (in the burn, same site not in the burn and at a nearby unburned site). Snakes on and off the burn unit at the same site exhibited the same habitat preference for wetland habitats, whereas snakes at the control site preferred herbaceous areas. Slight differences were observed in microhabitat selection related to litter depth, surface light intensity, distance to water, and surface temperature. The snakes did not appear to alter their seasonal activities as a result of the prescribed fire. The results of this study suggest ways to minimize impacts from prescribed fires on massasauga populations. © 2015, University of Notre Dame. All rights reserved.

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