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Weekly Highlights

MEMORANDUM

From: Gabrielle Boudreaux Bodin
Subject: Weekly Highlights, USGS National Wetlands Research Center, November 21, 2013

Departmental/Bureau News - Current

Scientists Study Influence of Invasive Nitrogen-fixing Trees on Tropical Streams: USGS NWRC Ecologist Nicole Cormier co-authored a manuscript with scientists from the USDA Forest Service Institute of Pacific Islands Forestry. The paper, Leaf-litter inputs from an invasive nitrogen-fixing tree influence organic-matter dynamics and nitrogen inputs in a Hawaiian river, was published in the journal Freshwater Science. Invasion by exotic plants can alter nutrient dynamics of forested ecosystems through increased nitrogen and decomposition of nitrogen-rich organic matter. The resulting shifts from native to exotic leaf-litter can significantly alter microbial, fungal, and invertebrate communities that colonize leaves, altering the leaf-litter breakdown rates. This study examined how invasion of tropical riparian forests by an exotic tree (Falcataria moluccana) affected organic-matter dynamics in a Hawaiian river by comparing the early stages of leaf-litter breakdown between exotic and native trees. These results highlight the effect of an exotic species on Pacific Island watersheds and add to a growing body of information that underscores the need for strategies to restore native tree species. (Nicole Cormier; Lafayette, La.; 337-266-8838)

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