Document Type


Publication Date


Publication Title

Journal of the Torrey Botanical Society


In many ecological communities, the effects of exotic species are likely to extend beyond their direct interactions with natives, due to indirect effects. This dynamic might be particularly consequential in cases where invasive insects or other exotic herbivores target foundation plant species in the communities they invade. In this study at a site in western Massachusetts, we used experimental transplants to gauge the potential effects of a decline in the evergreen conifer Tsuga canadensis due to ongoing spread of two exotic insect pests on a liverwort, Bazzania trilobata, whose distribution is closely linked to dense stands of this conifer in the northeastern USA. After 4 years, transplanted B. trilobata samples moved to forest areas with lower abundance of T. canadensis declined significantly, particularly on sites with higher solar radiation, as determined by local slope and aspect. In addition, samples manually cleared of deciduous leaf litter were ∼ 17% larger than those exposed to natural accumulation of leaf litter, indicating a direct negative effect of deciduous trees on the liverwort that might increase as these tree species replace T. canadensis lost to invasive pests. A parallel experiment documented high mortality of B. trilobata (55%) when subjected to open canopy conditions similar to those resulting from selective "salvage" logging of hemlock in the region. These results indicate that the spread of exotic insect pests targeting T. canadensis is likely to produce strong indirect negative effects on the liverwort B. trilobata, via diminished commensal interactions with the conifer and increased amensalistic effects from the deciduous tree species that commonly replace it.


Amensalism, commensalism, elongate hemlock scale, exotic species, hemlock woolly adelgid, invasions, liverwort





First Page


Last Page







Archived as published. Open access article.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.