European bird cherry (Prunus padus) (EBC) is an invasive ornamental tree that is spreading rapidly in riparian forests of urban Alaska. To determine how the spread of EBC affects leaf litter processing by aquatic invertebrate shredders, we conducted complementary leaf pack experiments in two streams located in Anchorage, Alaska. The first experiment contrasted invasive EBC with three native tree species—thin-leaf alder (Alnus tenuifolia), paper birch (Betula neoalaskana), and black cottonwood (Populus trichocarpa)—in one reach of Chester Creek; finding that EBC leaf litter broke down significantly faster than birch and cottonwood, but at a similar rate to alder. The second experiment contrasted EBC with alder in four reaches of Campbell and Chester creeks; finding that while EBC leaf litter broke down significantly faster than alder in Chester Creek, EBC broke down at a similar rate to alder in Campbell Creek. Although EBC sometimes supported fewer shredders by both count and mass, shredder communities did not differ significantly between EBC and native plants. Collectively, these data suggest that invasive EBC is not currently exhibiting strong negative impacts on leaf litter processing in these streams, but could if it continues to spread and further displaces native species over time.
Additional publication details
|Publication Subtype||Journal Article|
|Title||Effects of invasive European bird cherry (Prunus padus) on leaf litter processing by aquatic invertebrate shredder communities in urban Alaskan streams|
|Contributing office(s)||Coop Res Unit Seattle|
|Online Only (Y/N)||N|
|Additional Online Files (Y/N)||N|
|Google Analytic Metrics||Metrics page|