Exotic plants contribute positively to biodiversity functions but reduce native seed production and arthropod richness
Cook-Patton, Susan C.; Agrawal, Anurag A.
Although exotic plants comprise a substantial portion of floristic biodiversity, their contributions to community and ecosystem processes are not well understood. We manipulated plant species richness in old?field communities to compare the impacts of native vs. exotic species on plant biomass, seed production, and arthropod community structure. Plants within diverse communities, regardless of whether they were native or exotic, had higher biomass and seed production than in monocultures and displayed positive complementarity. Increasing native or exotic plant richness also enhanced the richness of arthropods on plants, but exotics attracted fewer arthropod species for a given arthropod abundance than did natives. Additionally, when exotic and native plants grew together, exotics suppressed seed production of native species. Thus, exotic plants appear to contribute positively to some biodiversity functions, but may impact native communities over longer time frames by reducing native seed production and recruiting fewer arthropod species.
This work was supported by a grant from Cornell’s IGERT in Biogeochemistry and Environmental Biocomplexity to S. C. Cook-Patton and NSF-DEB 1118783 to A. A. Agrawal.
Ecological Society of America
arthropod richness; biodiversity; biomass; Dryden, New York, USA; exotic plants; invasion; mono- vs. polyculture; native plants; old-field habitat; plant-insect interactions; seed production
Cook-Patton, S. C., & Agrawal, A. A. (2014). Exotic plants contribute positively to biodiversity functions but reduce native seed production and arthropod richness. Ecology, 95(6), 1642–1650.