Paper on biological invasions accepted

Not exactly within the profile of our group, not exactly about birds, but still flight-capable organisms. This time a more applied study about biological invasions.

Biological invasion is considered as one of the major threats for biodiversity. We studied the impact of a massive invasion by Canada goldenrod Solidago canadensis on highly diverse native plant communities and their pollinators in the largest Natura 2000 site in Romania. We found considerable adverse effects of S. canadensis invasion on both native plant and pollinator communities. The manuscript submitted to Basic and Applied Ecology was accepted for publication. Author marked by boldface is EvolEcol member.

Fenesi A, Vágási CI, Beldean M, Földesi R, Kolcsár L-P, Shapiro JT, Török E and Kovács-Hostyánszki A 2015. Solidago canadensis impacts on native plant and pollinator communities in different-aged old fields. Basic and Applied Ecology (in press).

Abstract: Secondary succession in former arable fields (i.e. old-fields) might be altered by the colonization of invasive alien species, with possible community-wide impacts which hamper old-fields’ potential to become species-rich communities. However, the effects of invasive species on local communities have rarely been addressed in the light of secondary succession. Therefore, we studied the impact of the highly invasive Solidago canadensis on plant and pollinator communities along a gradient of invasion severity in old-fields with different age (1–20 years since last ploughing) in Southern Transylvania, Romania. We asked whether (1) the invasion of S. canadensis causes shifts in the composition and diversity of plant communities, and (2) pollinator communities along the successional gradient; and (3) to what extent does the presence of S. canadensis affects flower visitation of native plant species by pollinators? According to our results, the invasion reduced the native plant species richness throughout succession, although the most profound negative effect on plant diversity and vegetation naturalness was exerted in older successional communities. The invasion of S. canadensis had a negative effect on the abundance of bees irrespective of the old-field age; however, there was no similar negative effect on hoverflies. Native flowers experienced reduced visitation by wild bees, honey bees and hoverflies due to the augmented presence of S. canadensis. Therefore, the trajectory of vegetation succession is diverted, and the mutualistic links between the native elements of these old-fields are altered due to the invasion of this perennial plant species and non-desired alternative stable states can be installed.

Key words: Canada goldenrod, plant invasion, plant–pollinator interaction, fallow, set-aside, Apis, Romania, Natura 2000, biodiversity conservation

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