Positive Feedback Does Not Occur Between Garlic Mustard (Alliaria petiolata) and Eurasian Earthworms

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Eurasian earthworms are a growing concern to forests in northern regions of the United States and Canada. Earthworm invasion alters nutrient retention and uptake in ecosystems and reorganizes plant and animal community structure and composition. Likewise, garlic mustard (Alliaria petiolata) invasion alters native plant communities. Many studies have examined the positive relationship that may exist between invasive shrubs and Eurasian earthworms; however, very few have examined the interactions between garlic mustard and Eurasian earthworms. Our goal is to characterize the relationship between garlic mustard and Eurasian earthworm species in southwest Ohio forest understories. Earthworms were sampled by liquid mustard extraction. Earthworm community composition, abundance and biomass were compared between 0.1 m2 plots consisting of garlic mustard, cut-leaved toothwort (Cardamine concatenate), or wild ginger (Asarum canadense).


Presented at the 97th Ecological Society of America Annual Meeting, Portland, OR.