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Title: Distribution, ecology and the ecosystem impacts of the riparian invasive plant Mimulus guttatus
Author: Truscott, A.-M.
Awarding Body: University of Aberdeen
Current Institution: University of Aberdeen
Date of Award: 2007
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Mimulus occurrence was high in the study catchment in NE Scotland but varied between tributaries. Abiotic factors, such as sediment availability and presence of boulders, appeared to be the major determinants of occurrence and abundance, whereas biotic factors, such as interspecific competition and grazing, were more important ecological determinants underlying performance. The rate of spread of Mimulus into inundation communities is likely to increase with more frequent occurrence of high flow events under climate change. Mimulus was found to fragment readily under velocities typical of high flow conditions, and fragments had high survival, regeneration and colonisation capacity. In addition, high propagule pressure and rapid germination of seeds, indicates that Mimulus is highly adapted to dispersal by both seeds and vegetative means. Over three years the turnover of Mimulus patches was high and abundance and distribution of patches appeared to be controlled by a balance of local dynamics and catchment scale colonisation and extinction events. Mimulus was found to significantly alter the structure of riparian plant communities even at low cover levels, reducing native plant species richness and diversity in disturbed sediment communities. The impact of Mimulus appeared restricted to disturbed sediment communities, as addition experiments into herb-grass communities were relatively unsuccessful in establishing Mimulus as a result of competition from the resident vegetation community and mollusc herbivory. This thesis has improved understanding of the mechanisms underlying riparian plant invasions. It demonstrates the importance of considering different measures of invasion success and climate change scenarios when predicting distribution and drivers of invasive species spread, and has identified that Mimulus impacts native plant communities, causing degradation of riparian systems.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available