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Title: An ecological assessment of Impatiens glandulifera in its introduced and native range and the potential for its classical biological control
Author: Tanner, Robert A.
ISNI:       0000 0004 2717 8802
Awarding Body: Royal Holloway, University of London
Current Institution: Royal Holloway, University of London
Date of Award: 2012
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The diversity of vegetation, the above and below-ground invertebrate community, and the soil mycobiota are intrinsically linked. However, few studies have assessed the impact of non-native invasive plant species at all levels. Here, dynamics of vegetation complexity, the invertebrate community, and abundance of arbuscular mycorrhizae (AM) were evaluated in relation to the abundance of Impatiens glandulifera. The abundance of above-ground detritivores, herbivores, and predators was significantly lower in the invaded sites compared to the uninvaded sites. The belowground community showed significant fluctuations within and between years, however, the overall abundance of the below-ground community showed no significant difference. At a species level, monocultures of I. glandulifera on exposed riverine sediments (ERS) impact on the ground beetle community by increasing the abundance of generalist ground beetles into the habitat. The presence of I. glandulifera may act to reduce the conservation potential of ERS by increasing competition between generalist and specialist Carabid species. In a third study, the impact of I. glandulifera was evaluated on AM fungi and native plant performance and the results revealed that below invaded stands, the levels of AM fungi are reduced and this has the potential to impact on native plant performance. These results suggest that invasion by I. glandulifera can lead to fragmented, destabilised ecosystems which require sensitive habitat restoration post-removal. Since 2006, research has been conducted to evaluate the natural enemies on I. glandulifera in its centre of origin in the north-western Himalayas, where the autoecious, monocyclic rust pathogen Puccinia komarovii has been highlighted as having considerable potential as a biological control agent. When comparing the ecology of I. glandulifera in the native and introduced range, the results suggest that I. glandulifera performs better in the introduced range and one of the major influencing factors is the release from its co-evolved natural enemies.
Supervisor: Gange, Alan Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Impatiens glandulifera ; impact ; classical biological control ; invertebrates