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Impact of an invasive plant (Elymus athericus) on the conservation value of tidal salt marshes in western France and implications for management: Responses of spider populations
Pétillon, J.; Ysnel, F.; Canard, A.; Lefeuvre, J.-C. (2005). Impact of an invasive plant (Elymus athericus) on the conservation value of tidal salt marshes in western France and implications for management: Responses of spider populations. Biol. Conserv. 126(1): 103–117. hdl.handle.net/10.1016/j.biocon.2005.05.003
In: Biological Conservation. Elsevier: Barking. ISSN 0006-3207, more
Peer reviewed article  

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Keywords
    Salt marshes; Araneae [WoRMS]; Elymus athericus (Link) Kerguélen [WoRMS]
Author keywords
    Long-term survey; Invasive species; Halophilic species

Authors  Top 
  • Pétillon, J., more
  • Ysnel, F.
  • Canard, A.
  • Lefeuvre, J.-C.

Abstract
    As a result of Elymus athericus (Poaceae) invasion in the last 10 years, a major change in vegetation cover has occurred in salt marshes of the Mont Saint-Michel bay (France). Such invasions are known to modify biodiversity and consequently ecosystem proprieties and functions as well as the conservation value of invaded areas. In this study, we especially focus (1) on the impact of the invasive species on the conservation value of the invaded ecosystems and (2) on the impact of mowing in the invaded parts of salt marshes. Among the various biological models, spiders were selected for the present study because they are an abundant, diversified, taxonomic group of generalist predators. Furthermore, data are available on this group since 1984, allowing a comparison of species distribution ranges in salt marshes before and after the E. athericus invasion. This diachronic approach showed that the invasion of salt marshes promoted the progression of non-coastal species, web-building spiders and cursorial spiders, but did not interfere with resident species distributions, finally resulting in higher spider densities and species richness in the entire area.

    The species composition, functional groups, abundances and densities of spider assemblages were also compared using complementary sampling techniques (i.e., pitfall traps, collecting by hand and quadrat technique) between natural and invaded stations in 2002 for synchronic approach. One main result is that some halophilic species decreased in abundances and densities in invaded plots, which is thought to alter the marine character of salt marsh arthropod assemblages. Lastly, mowing, by reducing non-coastal species and enhancing halophilic ones, tends to reduce the negative effects of Elymus on salt marsh conservation value. The relation between the treatments tested (invasive species and mowing) and the spider assemblages by changes in environmental variables confirms the high value of this group as bioindicators.<


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