Toggle Main Menu Toggle Search

Open Access padlockePrints

Stream invertebrate diversity reduces with invasion of river banks by non-native plants

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Zarah PattisonORCiD



This is the authors' accepted manuscript of an article that has been published in its final definitive form by Wiley-Blackwell, 2019.

For re-use rights please refer to the publisher's terms and conditions.


© 2018 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.Invasion of riparian zones by non-native plants is a global issue and commonly perceived as a challenge for river and fishery managers, but the type and extent of ecological changes induced by such invasions remain poorly understood. Established effects on sediment delivery, allochthonous inputs, and channel shading could potentially alter aquatic macroinvertebrate assemblages, with implications for in-stream ecological quality. We assessed responses in the diversity, quality, and heterogeneity of stream macroinvertebrate communities to riparian invasion by non-native plants. Macroinvertebrates were collected from 24 sites on low order streams in central and southern Scotland during spring and autumn. The effect of invasive non-native plants (INNP) on macroinvertebrates was assessed relative to that of local physical and chemical factors. Invasive non-native plants cover was associated with stronger effects than other factors on local diversity of macroinvertebrates (33% reduction at the highest INNP cover) but also increased macroinvertebrate abundance across sites. Invaded sites were also associated with lower macroinvertebrate biomonitoring scores. Community composition differed between invaded and uninvaded sites in autumn, but not in spring. However, INNP influence on macroinvertebrate composition was generally secondary to that of physicochemical variables (e.g. channel shade, substrate diversity). We demonstrate that the influence of INNP extends beyond well-known impacts on plant communities to reductions mainly in stream macroinvertebrate diversity. Combined with the negative impact on pollution-sensitive macroinvertebrate taxa this raises concerns over the ecological health of streams with heavily invaded riparian zones. Our findings suggest that efforts to improve low order streams by actively managing severe riparian invasions are merited, but the size and uncertainty of the likely ecological gains must also be evaluated against the effort involved.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Seeney A, Pattison Z, Willby NJ, Boon PJ, Bull CD

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Freshwater Biology

Year: 2019

Volume: 64

Issue: 3

Pages: 485-496

Print publication date: 01/03/2019

Online publication date: 26/12/2018

Acceptance date: 12/11/2018

Date deposited: 09/01/2020

ISSN (print): 0046-5070

ISSN (electronic): 1365-2427

Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell


DOI: 10.1111/fwb.13236


Altmetrics provided by Altmetric