The ecology of headwater streams is tightly linked to the riparian zone through organic matter subsidies which are highly susceptible to alteration due to biological invasion. Lonicera maackii is a non-native shrub that is a highly successful invader of headwater stream riparian zones in the American Midwest. We assessed effects on benthic macroinvertebrates across a gradient of invasion intensity from references sites with minimal invasion to a site that had a very heavy invasion. Benthic macroinvertebrates were sampled throughout the year and compositional differences were assessed using Non-metric Multidimensional Scaling ordination, and by comparing the prevalence of sensitive (Ephemeroptera, Plectoptera, and Trichoptera: EPT) and tolerant (Chironomidae) macroinvertebrate taxa. We found strong evidence of variation among macroinvertebrate communities across the invasion gradient (ANOSIM R = 0.215, P = 0.004) and particularly strong separation between one of our reference sites with minimal invasion and the site with the heaviest invasion. Analysis of EPT taxa indicated a significant overall effect and pairwise comparisons indicated that the site with the heaviest invasion had the lowest percentage of sensitive taxa (P < 0.05). Our analysis of chironomids did not yield a statistically discernable effect, although the pattern of the data suggest higher dominance in the site with the heaviest invasion. These stream-scale results bolster prior laboratory and field experiments and provide evidence that terrestrial invasion of L. maackiiimpacts the benthic community present in headwater streams. These results provide impetus to re-focus stream management recommendations to include practices that control invasive plants in riparian forests.
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Little, Michelle N.; Custer, Kevin W.; Borth, Eric B.; Chapman, Julia I.; Kukla, Mitchell J.; Kuminecz, Corey; Maloney, Margaret E.; Woods, Michaela J.; and McEwan, Ryan, "The influence of riparian invasion by the terrestrial shrub Lonicera maackii on aquatic macroinvertebrates in temperate forest headwater streams" (2020). Biology Faculty Publications. 263.