Does Amur honeysuckle cause an ecological trap?
We sampled terrestrial amphibians using pitfalls (10 L buckets buried in ground) installed on all ends of three drift fences arranged into a Y-shape array (12 M each). We placed six arrays in high density invasion and six in low density invasion. We recorded humidity and temperature in all plots during sampling periods.
In our field sampling, we found that amphibians, particularly adults, are more common in honeysuckle-choked areas. However, larval and juvenile populations are uncommon and often not present in dense honeysuckle habitats. Microclimate data collected in our plots indicate that humidity is greater and less variable and temperature is less variable in invaded compared to uninvaded plots. Allelopathy may enable Amur honeysuckle to have a bottom-up (plant or algae resource effect) impact on amphibians. The trap caused by honeysuckle can come from a stage specific impact where the larval form has lower survival. Amphibians might have faulty information about the environment; therefore further study could focus on distinction between habitat selection and habitat quality. Future studies will focus on larval amphibian communities inside invaded habitats and adult movements in and out of these habitats.