From the abstract:

An understanding of trait-environment relationships is particularly important in the case of invasive species which may alter abiotic conditions and available resources. This study is the first to measure the functional response of riparian plant communities to biocontrol of an invasive species.

Henry et al. compared paired vegetation patches dominated and not dominated by tamarisk (Tamarix) during cycles of defoliation by the tamarisk beetle, Diorhabda carinulata, and refoliation over eight years in the Moab area. They found that community-weighted average trait values, species diversity and functional dispersion changed little in response to defoliation, and instead seemed to be responding to fluctuations in yearly precipitation. These results showed that riparian vegetation can be resilient to Tamarix biocontrol, and that defoliation might not necessarily always lead to substantial changes in ecosystem function.


Henry, A.L., González-Sargas, E., Shafroth, P.B., Goetz, A.R. and Sher, A.A. Functional stability of vegetation following biocontrol of an invasive riparian shrub. Biol Invasions 25, 1133–1147 (2023).

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