Get access

Does Coastal Foredune Stabilization with Ammophila arenaria Restore Plant and Arthropod Communities in Southeastern Australia?

Authors

  • Cameron E. Webb,

    1. Key Centre for Biodiversity and Bioresources , School of Biological Sciences, Macquarie University, NSW, 2109 Australia.
    2. Current address: Medical Entomology , Level 3, ICPMR, Westmead Hospital, Westmead NSW, 2145 Australia.
    3. Address correspondence to C. E. Webb.
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Ian Oliver,

    1. Key Centre for Biodiversity and Bioresources , School of Biological Sciences, Macquarie University, NSW, 2109 Australia.
    2. Current address: Biodiversity and Conservation Unit , Department of Land and Water Conservation, P.O. Box U245, University of New England, Armidale 2351, Australia.
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Anthony J. Pik

    1. Key Centre for Biodiversity and Bioresources , School of Biological Sciences, Macquarie University, NSW, 2109 Australia.
    Search for more papers by this author

Abstract

In this study we examine whether stabilization of denuded coastal foredunes in southeastern Australia with the exotic grass species Ammophila arenaria (marram grass) restores plant and ground-active arthropod assemblages characteristic of undisturbed foredunes. Vascular plants and arthropods were sampled from foredunes that had been stabilized with marram grass in 1982, and from foredunes with no obvious anthropogenic disturbance (control dunes). All arthropods collected were sorted to Order, and ants (81.5% of all specimens) were further sorted to morphospecies. Abundance within arthropod Orders, as well as richness, composition, and structure of the plant and ant assemblages from control and stabilized dunes, were compared. The abundance of Diptera was significantly greater on stabilized dunes, while the abundance of Isopoda was significantly greater on control dunes. There were no significant differences in morphospecies richness or composition of ant assemblages on the two dunes types, although some differences in the abundances of individual morphospecies were observed. By contrast, stabilized dunes exhibited lower plant species richness and highly significant differences in plant species composition, due mainly to the large projected foliage cover of marram grass. The study revealed that after 12 years, the vegetation composition and structure of stabilized dunes was still dominated by marram grass and, as a result, invertebrate assemblages had not been restored to those characteristic of undisturbed foredunes.

Ancillary