Restoration of Phragmites dominated wetlands in southern New Jersey has brought about a rapid return of Spartina and other desirable vegetation in a short period. However, little is know of how arthropods intimately associated with the native plant community respond to the return of the native vegetation. A previous analysis found that free-living arthropod communities rapidly recolonize newly established stands of Spartina. What is still not known, however, is if consumer-resource interactions are also re-established in these restored habitats.
An analysis of the natural abundance of C (C13/C12) and N (N15/N14) stable isotopes of the dominant arthropods suggests that trophic interactions among arthropods are restored in new Spartina habitats. C and N signatures of spiders, arthropod predators, herbivores and detritivores show that energy flow and feeding relationships are consistent across reference and restored Spartina habitats. Moreover, stable isotope profiles of arthropods in Phragmites reveal that food web interactions in the habitat dominated by the invasive plant are dependent primarily on detrital resources. Spartina food webs, in contrast, are trophically based on macrophytes. In addition, despite the fact that these habitats are often adjacent to each other, there was little evidence of cross-habitat connectance between food webs in invaded and uninvaded habitats
Species 1: Cyperales Poaceae Phragmites australis (Common reed)
Species 2: Cyperales Poaceae Spartina alterniflora (smooth cordgrass)
Keywords: stable isotopes, restoration
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