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Georgia Journal of Science

Article Title

A COMPARISON OF THE LEAF LITTER INVERTEBRATE COMMUNITY ASSOCIATED WITH GOLDEN BAMBOO STANDS VERSUS ADJACENT AREAS

Abstract

Golden Bamboo (Phyllostachys aurea) is an invasive species that forms dense monocultural stands that exclude all other plants. The invertebrate leaf litter community associated with these stands likely varies from native or more heterogeneous stands because reducing heterogeneity generally reduces available niches. The potential reduction in complexity and abundance of the leaf-litter community may influence multiple trophic levels because litter invertebrates are influential in nutrient cycling and also serve as predators of soil and litter fauna. Our objective for this project was to test our hypothesis that the community of leaf-litter invertebrates would be depauperate when compared to the litter invertebrates associated with adjacent but more heterogeneous habitat. We collected litter samples from three locations in Lamar County, GA, that contained dense areas of golden bamboo. Berlese funnels were used to extract the invertebrates and we identified all invertebrates to Order level. We used t-tests (α = 0.05) to determine if the community associated with Golden Bamboo litter differed from that of adjacent litter in regards to total abundance, order richness, Shannon’s diversity, and Shannon’s equitability. A total of 5026 macroinvertebrates representing 21 Orders were identified, with 2276 in bamboo and 2750 in hardwood. Average richness in bamboo habitats was slightly lower than in adjacent areas (13/sample vs. 13.7), average Shannon’s diversity in bamboo was slightly higher (1.5 vs. 1.0), and average Shannon’s equitability was 0.58 in bamboo versus 0.38 in adjacent areas. However, the only difference that was significantly different was Shannon’s equitability (P = 0.04). Based on the results from our small study, we reject our hypothesis that the macroinvertebrate community in Golden bamboo differs substantially from the community found in more heterogeneous areas nearby.

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