Date of Award
Master of Science
Clifton B. Ruehl
Leaf litter species play a key role in determining the quality and quantity of algal resources in aquatic ecosystems as a cross-boundary subsidy. The invasion of non-native plant species into forests can alter aquatic resources. I investigated the effects of non-native leaf litter species on algal resources and green frog, Lithobates clamitans, development using a randomized complete block experiment that lasted 288 days. In experimental ponds, I added two non-native and two native leaf litter species in the presence and absence of tadpoles. Early in the experiment, Japanese honeysuckle and Chinese privet decreased periphyton N:P ratios and stimulated tadpole growth compared to native leaf litters. However, tadpole mortality in Japanese honeysuckle was high over winter compared to other leaf litters. Different litter species affected periphytic algal quality and quantity that modified tadpole growth suggesting that invasion of non-native terrestrial plants influence population dynamics of aquatic organisms.
Cruz, Spencer L., "Non-Native Leaf Litter Modifies Algal Resources with Effects on Tadpole Growth" (2019). Theses and Dissertations. 329.