RODRIGUEZ CABAL mariano Alberto
Cross-ecosystem impacts of non-native ungulates on wetland communities
MOTTA, LUCIANA; BARRIOS-GARCIA, M. NOELIA; BALLARI, SEBASTIÁN A.; RODRIGUEZ-CABAL, MARIANO A.
Año: 2020 vol. 22 p. 3283 - 3291
Herbivory by non-native species can create strong direct and indirect effects on plant and arthropods communities that can potentially cross ecosystem boundaries. Yet, the cross-ecosystems impacts of non-native species are poorly understood. We took advantage of ongoing invasions by non-native ungulates in Patagonia, Argentina, to examine their cross-ecosystem impacts on water parameters, littoral vegetation and aquatic macroinvertebrate assemblages in wetlands. We found a gradient of invasion by non-native ungulates from intact (non-invaded) to highly invaded wetlands. These highly invaded wetlands had ~ 24% less vegetation cover, which was 72% shorter in height than vegetation in intact wetlands. As a result, the abundance of predatory macroinvertebrates such as Odonata (dragonflies) was reduced by ~ 90%; while Diptera were ~ 170% more abundant, and Oligochaeta were recorded mostly at invaded sites. In contrast, we did not find evidence that non-native ungulates altered water parameters. Understanding the indirect consequences of invasive non-native species is crucial for quantifying the real impacts of global change. Our results show strong cross-ecosystem impacts of non-native ungulates on macroinvertebrate wetland communities, highlighting the importance of indirect interactions beyond ecosystem boundaries.