Analysis of the diversity of soil arthropofauna in semi-arid Mediterranean coastal scrub facing invasion scenarios by agaves.
Jesús Pérez Pardo.
Biological invasions are one of the main ecological problems today, affecting the diversity of species or altering the trophic chains of the environment they colonize. In the Cabo de Gata-Níjar Natural Park, a plant invasion occurred as a consequence of the planting of Agave sisalana and A. fourcroydes in the mid-1950s to obtain fibers. As a result of later abandonment, the agaves have been densifying and expanding throughout the land, occupying more and more space and displacing the native plant species of ecosystems of high ecological value. To know the effect of agaves on the arthropod community, a study was carried out between 2016-2019 of the arthropofauna of the soil of invaded and non-invaded areas in two different substrates, crust and sand. Against our initial hypothesis, a positive or null effect of the invasion of agaves on the relative abundance of arthropods was mainly observed, together with an increase in diversity, and an increase in the abundance of the predators and herbivores studied. This would reflect changes in the composition of the arthropod community when agave invasion occurs.
Keywords: Agave sisalana, Agave fourcroydes, Arthropods, Biodiversity, Cabo de Gata-Níjar Natural Park (Almería, Spain), Coleoptera and Plant invasion.