Bechhofer, Jessica , Flinn, Kathryn .
The effects of the invasive shrub Japanese barberry (Berberis thunbergii) on nutrient, moisture and light availability.
As exotic species invasions continue to transform patterns of biological diversity, it becomes increasingly urgent to understand invasions’ full consequences. Shade-tolerant, woody exotics that colonize undisturbed forests have the potential for strong effects on plant communities. Berberis thunbergii DC, one such species, has invaded forests throughout eastern North America. Here we quantified the impacts of B. thunbergii invasions on the diversity and composition of native plant communities, both directly and through possible modifications of nutrient, moisture and light availability. Plots with and without B. thunbergii had similar species richness, evenness and diversity. Only two species were less likely to occur in plots with B. thunbergii. We also found no effect of B. thunbergii on soil moisture or other key soil properties such as pH and organic matter content. Plots with B. thunbergii had lower light levels at 10 cm from the ground, as under any shrub. Given these modest effects, we may need to rethink the idea of B. thunbergii as “invasive.”
Flinn lab website
1 - Franklin & Marshall College, Biology, PO Box 3003, Lancaster, PA, 17604, USA
Presentation Type: Poster:Posters for Sections
Candidate for Awards:None