Changes in salt-marsh carabid assemblages after an invasion by the native grass **Elymus athericus** (Link) Kerguélen
Faculty of Sciences. Biology
, p. 407-419
University of Antwerp
As a result of an invasion by the native grass Elymus athericus (Link) Kerguélen (Poaceae) in the last 10 years, a major change in vegetation cover has occurred in salt marshes of the Mont Saint-Michel bay, Western France. The impact of such an invasion on carabid assemblages, a dominant group of terrestrial arthropods in these habitats and containing several stenotopic species, is investigated here. In our study site, carabid data are available from 1983 and 1984, allowing a comparison of species distribution ranges in salt marshes before (19831984) and after (2002) the E. athericus invasion. A total of 16,867 adults belonging to 40 species were caught. By considering the presence-absence of species shared between studies, we show that the invasion by E. athericus promoted the progression of non-coastal species (mainly Pterostichus s.l. spp.). This did however not interfere with resident species distributions, finally resulting in higher carabid species richness in the entire area. The species composition and abundances of carabid assemblages were also compared between natural and invaded stations in 2002. The main result is that abundances of some halophilic species decreased in one invaded plot (in case of Pogonus chalceus (Marsham 1802)) whereas the opposite pattern was observed for other species (e.g., Bembidion minimum (Fabricius 1792)). Invaded habitats were characterized by lower percentages of halophilic species and higher total species richness.