The Role of an Invasive Exotic Plant on the Structure of Aquatic Invertebrate Assemblages: Tamarix in the Southwest United States

by Lewis, Bert

Abstract (Summary)
Over the past 100 years, riparian vegetation communities throughout the Southwest United States have been extensively invaded by Tamara spp. (saltcedar). Saltcedar derives its common name from its physiological adaptation to excrete salts. Theproduction of Tamarix detritus with associated secondary chemicals may affect the qualityof aquatic invertebrate food and habitat resources. An alteration in food and habitat quality may affect the composition and structure of aquatic invertebrate assemblages.A series of experiments was conducted contrasting aquatic invertebrate assemblage densities, colonization rates, and growth rates associated with Tamarix versus native vegetation, Populus fremontii (cottonwood) and Salix exigua (willow), to determine ifaquatic invertebrate assemblages have been altered by the invasion of Tamarix. Results of invertebrate growth rates over 13 weeks indicate that Tamarix is minimally different in food quality to cottonwood and willow. I failed to find differences in invertebrate colonization rates or invertebrate assemblage densities associated with Tamarix compared to cottonwood and willow over two 6-week time periods.
Bibliographical Information:


School:Utah State University

School Location:USA - Utah

Source Type:Master's Thesis

Keywords:exotic plant invasive aquatic invertebrate tamarix


Date of Publication:01/01/1998

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