A Non-Native Riparian Tree (Elaeagnus angustifolia) Changes Nutrient Dynamics in Streams

Citation data:

Ecosystems, ISSN: 1432-9840, Vol: 14, Issue: 3, Page: 353-365

Publication Year:
2011
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Repository URL:
https://works.bepress.com/amy-marcarelli/22; http://digitalcommons.mtu.edu/biological-fp/16
DOI:
10.1007/s10021-011-9415-0; 10.1007/s10021-011-9415-0retrieved
Author(s):
Madeleine M. Mineau; Colden V. Baxter; Amy M. Marcarelli
Publisher(s):
Springer Nature
Tags:
Agricultural and Biological Sciences; Environmental Science; Elaeagnus angustifolia; Russian olive; invasive species; nitrogen fixation; nutrient limi-tation; nutrient spiraling; subsidy; DON; Life Sciences
article description
Russian olive (Elaeagnus angustifolia) is a non-native riparian tree that has become common and continues to rapidly spread throughout the western United States. Due to its dinitrogen (N)-fixing ability and proximity to streams, Russian olive has the potential to subsidize stream ecosystems with nitrogen (N), which may in turn alter nutrient processing in these systems. We tested these potential effects by comparing background N concentrations; nutrient limitation of biofilms; and uptake of ammonium (NH-N), nitrate (NO-N), and phosphate (PO-P) in paired upstream-reference and downstream-invaded reaches in streams in southeastern Idaho and central Wyoming. We found that stream reaches invaded by Russian olive had higher organic N concentrations and exhibited reduced N limitation of biofilms compared to reference reaches. However, at low inorganic N background concentrations, reaches invaded by Russian olive exhibited higher demand for both NH-N and NO-N compared to their paired reference reaches, suggesting these streams have the potential to retain the N subsidy from Russian olive Nfixation and diminish its downstream export and effects. Our findings demonstrate the potential for a non-native riparian plant to significantly alter biogeochemical cycling in streams. Finally, we used our results to develop a conceptual model that describes predicted effects of Russian olive and other non-native riparian Nfixers on in-stream N dynamics. © 2011 Springer Science+Business Media, LLC.