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Title:Distribution of non-native wetland plants is facilitated by urbanization and roads in the Chicago region
Author(s):Skultety, Dennis Phillip
Advisor(s):Matthews, Jefferey W.
Department / Program:Natural Resources & Environmental Sciences
Discipline:Natural Resources & Environmental Sciences
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
non-native species distribution
Abstract:Human modification of the landscape, including urbanization and road construction, has facilitated the spread and establishment of non-native plant species. Urban areas have often been introduction points for species and have a combination of factors making them susceptible to invasion; including reduced habitat area, loss of unique habitat types, and increased nutrient run-off. Roads facilitate the spread of non-native plant species by providing locally disturbed habitat and a corridor for propagule dispersal. I conducted two analyses to assess how changes in the environment through urbanization and road construction facilitate the distribution of non-native plant species. For these analyses I used species occurrence data from over 2000 wetlands within the Chicago region. In the first analysis I examined the influence of urbanization and roads on the occurrences of 15 non-native plant species. I found that species, or groups of species, responded differently to the effects of urbanization and roads. For example, occurrences of halophyte species were best predicted by road variables; halophytes were more commonly associated with major roads such as interstates and federal highways, road types that are likely to receive greater applications of de-icing salts. For the second analysis I examined non-native species composition and identified non-native-dominated community types; I then conducted a similarity-based analysis to show that these novel communities are repeated across the landscape in a predictable way. I evaluated the contribution of surrounding land cover, roads, and geographic distances among wetlands to the similarity of plant communities. Non-native species were found to be widespread across the region. I found that non-native species similarity was most strongly correlated with similarity of land cover within 100 m of wetlands. This analysis was repeated for identified community types. My findings that similar changes to the landscape have resulted in similar combinations of non-native species is evidence that anthropogenic drivers are creating novel habitats and ultimately novel community types. Together my analyses have implications for understanding and managing non-native plant species within urban areas.
Issue Date:2015-10-30
Rights Information:Copyright 2015 Dennis Skultety
Date Available in IDEALS:2016-03-02
Date Deposited:2015-12

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