The impact of native and exotic plants on soil biodiversity and ecosystem function

Hdl Handle:
http://hdl.handle.net/10142/606083
Title:
The impact of native and exotic plants on soil biodiversity and ecosystem function
Authors:
Bird, Stephanie
Abstract:
Soil biodiversity is an often overlooked component of global biodiversity, despite being important for supporting soil ecosystem services, notably decomposition processes. As the UK becomes increasingly urbanised, knowledge is required to help gardeners maximise urban green space resources for biodiversity. It is often assumed that non native vegetation has negative impacts on biodiversity, however, this hypothesis has not been tested for soil biodiversity. The overarching aims were to establish whether the geographical origin of vegetation affected soil faunal assemblages and decomposition rates for a UK soil. Traditional taxonomic methods and a molecular phylogenetic approach were used to characterise the Collembola communities of plots planted with vegetation from three geographical regions: ‘Native’, ‘Near native’ and ‘Exotic’. For comparison, additional soil cores were collected from the amenity grassland sites adjacent to the experimental plots, a lowland heath and a semi-natural woodland. No difference was found either in terms of the taxonomic diversity (1-D & H’) or phylogenetic diversity (PD & MPD) for the Collembola, under the different vegetation treatments, although differences in abundance were observed for some taxa (Acari & Collembola). Decomposition rates were assessed for each plot, using both twig (B. pendula) and leaf (Q. robur) litter bags for the soil mesofauna and bait lamina strips for earthworm activity; none of these parameters showed evidence of a vegetation origin effect on decomposition processes. The greatest differences were found when all sites were considered, with distinct Collembola communities found at each of the habitats; the semi-natural habitats had greater Collembola species diversity than the experimental plots, however, the decomposition rates of the latter were significantly higher. The implications of all results have been discussed with regards to the management of gardens for soil biodiversity, reaching the conclusion that vegetation origin is not of paramount importance.
Advisors:
Ozanne, Claire; Salisbury, Andrew
Publisher:
Roehampton University
Issue Date:
2015
URI:
http://hdl.handle.net/10142/606083
Type:
Thesis or dissertation
Language:
en
Sponsors:
Royal Horticultural Society (RHS)
Appears in Collections:
PhD Theses

Full metadata record

DC FieldValue Language
dc.contributor.advisorOzanne, Claireen
dc.contributor.advisorSalisbury, Andrewen
dc.contributor.authorBird, Stephanieen
dc.date.accessioned2016-04-20T14:20:26Zen
dc.date.available2016-04-20T14:20:26Zen
dc.date.issued2015en
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/10142/606083en
dc.description.abstractSoil biodiversity is an often overlooked component of global biodiversity, despite being important for supporting soil ecosystem services, notably decomposition processes. As the UK becomes increasingly urbanised, knowledge is required to help gardeners maximise urban green space resources for biodiversity. It is often assumed that non native vegetation has negative impacts on biodiversity, however, this hypothesis has not been tested for soil biodiversity. The overarching aims were to establish whether the geographical origin of vegetation affected soil faunal assemblages and decomposition rates for a UK soil. Traditional taxonomic methods and a molecular phylogenetic approach were used to characterise the Collembola communities of plots planted with vegetation from three geographical regions: ‘Native’, ‘Near native’ and ‘Exotic’. For comparison, additional soil cores were collected from the amenity grassland sites adjacent to the experimental plots, a lowland heath and a semi-natural woodland. No difference was found either in terms of the taxonomic diversity (1-D & H’) or phylogenetic diversity (PD & MPD) for the Collembola, under the different vegetation treatments, although differences in abundance were observed for some taxa (Acari & Collembola). Decomposition rates were assessed for each plot, using both twig (B. pendula) and leaf (Q. robur) litter bags for the soil mesofauna and bait lamina strips for earthworm activity; none of these parameters showed evidence of a vegetation origin effect on decomposition processes. The greatest differences were found when all sites were considered, with distinct Collembola communities found at each of the habitats; the semi-natural habitats had greater Collembola species diversity than the experimental plots, however, the decomposition rates of the latter were significantly higher. The implications of all results have been discussed with regards to the management of gardens for soil biodiversity, reaching the conclusion that vegetation origin is not of paramount importance.en
dc.description.provenanceSubmitted by Anne Pietsch (a.pietsch@roehampton.ac.uk) on 2016-04-20T14:19:43Z No. of bitstreams: 1 Stephanie Bird Thesis.pdf: 5215572 bytes, checksum: 5e1cf26cf9285d32f05cab378b0674b6 (MD5)en
dc.description.provenanceApproved for entry into archive by Anne Pietsch (a.pietsch@roehampton.ac.uk) on 2016-04-20T14:20:25Z (GMT) No. of bitstreams: 1 Stephanie Bird Thesis.pdf: 5215572 bytes, checksum: 5e1cf26cf9285d32f05cab378b0674b6 (MD5)en
dc.description.provenanceMade available in DSpace on 2016-04-20T14:20:26Z (GMT). No. of bitstreams: 1 Stephanie Bird Thesis.pdf: 5215572 bytes, checksum: 5e1cf26cf9285d32f05cab378b0674b6 (MD5) Previous issue date: 2015en
dc.description.sponsorshipRoyal Horticultural Society (RHS)en
dc.language.isoenen
dc.publisherRoehampton Universityen
dc.subjectbiodiversityen
dc.subjectSoil biodiversityen
dc.subjectsoil faunaen
dc.subjectecosystemen
dc.titleThe impact of native and exotic plants on soil biodiversity and ecosystem functionen
dc.typeThesis or dissertationen
dc.publisher.departmentDepartment of Life Sciencesen
dc.type.qualificationnamePhDen
dc.type.qualificationlevelDoctoralen
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