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Data from: Native and non-native plants provide similar refuge to invertebrate prey, but less than artificial plants
Date of Archiving2016
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Animal Ecology & Physiology
Key wordsAquatic Macroinvertebrates; Ceratophyllum demersum; Cabomba caroliniana; Gammarus pulex; Ischnura elegans; Coenagrion puella; Predator-prey interactions; Vallisneria spiralis; invasive species; Potamogeton perfoliatus; Myriophyllum spicatum; Anax imperator; macrophyte; exotic species; Daphnia pulex; structural complexity; Cyprinus carpio; Coenagrion pulchellum; aquatic plants; plant rigidity; Myriophyllum heterophyllum
Non-native species introductions are widespread and can affect ecosystem functioning by altering the structure of food webs. Invading plants often modify habitat structure, which may affect the suitability of vegetation as refuge and could thus impact predator-prey dynamics. Yet little is known about how the replacement of native by non-native vegetation affects predator-prey dynamics. We hypothesize that plant refuge provisioning depends on (1) the plant’s native status, (2) plant structural complexity and morphology, (3) predator identity, and (4) prey identity, as well as that (5) structurally similar living and artificial plants provide similar refuge. We used aquatic communities as a model system and compared the refuge provided by plants to macroinvertebrates (Daphnia pulex, Gammarus pulex and damselfly larvae) in three short-term laboratory predation experiments. Plant refuge provisioning differed between plant species, but was generally similar for native (Myriophyllum spicatum, Ceratophyllum demersum, Potamogeton perfoliatus) and non-native plants (Vallisneria spiralis, Myriophyllum heterophyllum, Cabomba caroliniana). However, plant refuge provisioning to macroinvertebrate prey depended primarily on predator (mirror carp: Cyprinus carpio carpio and dragonfly larvae: Anax imperator) and prey identity, while the effects of plant structural complexity were only minor. Contrary to living plants, artificial plant analogues did improve prey survival, particularly with increasing structural complexity and shoot density. As such, plant rigidity, which was high for artificial plants and one of the living plant species evaluated in this study (Ceratophyllum demersum), may interact with structural complexity to play a key role in refuge provisioning to specific prey (Gammarus pulex). Our results demonstrate that replacement of native by structurally similar non-native vegetation is unlikely to greatly affect predator-prey dynamics. We propose that modification of predator-prey interactions through plant invasions only occurs when invading plants radically differ in growth form, density and rigidity compared to native plants. Usage Notes Predator-prey survival data for native and non-native aquatic plants Prey survival data was collected in a series of three aquarium experiments. The file is split into two tabs: realplant-survival used for Figure 1 and artificialplant-survival used for Figure 2. The first tab contains data about prey survival under mirror carp or dragonfly larvae predation in monocultures of real aquatic plants, at low and high stem density. The column headings in the first tab are: totalID (distinct ID per record), testSpecies (gives scientific name of plant species tested), preySurvival (%-prey survival), stemDensity (plant stem density), plantOrigin (plant native status in Northwestern Europe), dayExperiment (day that data record was collected in predator-prey trial), periodDay (time of the day that data record was collected in predator-prey trial), preySpecies (type of prey for data record), predatorSpecies (type of predator for data record), predatorIndividual (unique ID for dragonfly individual or unique ID for fish pairs). The second tab contains data about prey survival under mirror carp predation, in monocultures of artificial plant analogues resembling aquatic plants, at low and high stem density. For information on column headings in the second tab, see descriptions given for headings in the first tab. Information on the number of prey at t0, the duration of predation trials, plant density and other ifnormation is provided in the corresponding publication. prey-survival-2014.xls