Many important wetland functions are tied to sediment dynamics, which are largely governed by infaunal invertebrate communities. These communities are sensitive to changes in sediment structure and to colonization by non-native species. In a southern California salt marsh, the non-native Australian isopod Sphaeroma quoianum has created dense networks of burrows within the marsh banks. Since this isopod increases erosion in other areas and changes local communities, its possible contribution to habitat loss in this already-scarce southern California ecosystem is an important question. This study investigated invertebrate community composition, sediment respiration, and sediment characteristics, and connected S. quoianum burrows to increased proportions of crustaceans, decreased carbon content, and steep marsh bluffs and highlights the potential susceptibility of early successional salt marsh habitat to invasion by non-native species and subsequent changes in ecosystem function. These results suggest that S. quoianum invasion of salt marsh habitats can alter native communities and ecosystem functions.
|Advisor:||Whitcraft, Christine R.|
|Commitee:||Dillon, Jesse G., Keller, Jason K.|
|School:||California State University, Long Beach|
|School Location:||United States -- California|
|Source:||MAI 57/01M(E), Masters Abstracts International|
|Keywords:||Bioturbation, Invasive, Macroinvertebrate, Salt marsh, Sediment respiration, Sphaeroma|
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