Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

The beauty is a beast: does leachate from the invasive terrestrial plant Impatiens glandulifera affect aquatic food webs?

Abstract

Invasive alien species are a major threat to ecosystems. Invasive terrestrial plants can produce allelochemicals which suppress native terrestrial biodiversity. However, it is not known if leached allelochemicals from invasive plants growing in riparian zones, such as Impatiens glandulifera, also affect freshwater ecosystems. We used mesocosms and laboratory experiments to test the impact of I. glandulifera on a simplified freshwater food web. Our mesocosm experiments show that leachate from I. glandulifera significantly reduced population growth rate of the water flea Daphnia magna and the green alga Acutodesmus obliquus, both keystone species of lakes and ponds. Laboratory experiments using the main allelochemical released by I. glandulifera, 2-methoxy-1,4-naphthoquinone, revealed negative fitness effects in D. magna and A. obliquus. Our findings show that allelochemicals from I. glandulifera not only reduce biodiversity in terrestrial habitats but also pose a threat to freshwater ecosystems, highlighting the necessity to incorporate cross-ecosystem effects in the risk assessment of invasive species.