Legacy Effects of Explosive Contamination on Vegetative Communities

Full-Text HTML XML Download Download as PDF (Size:1544KB) PP. 496-508
DOI: 10.4236/oje.2016.68047    778 Downloads   955 Views  


Natural selection processes are constantly influencing vegetation community composition. In the presence of anthropogenic contaminants additional forces act as filters controlling persistence of naturally occurring species. Classical species diversity and richness metrics can miss subtle changes under disturbance regimes while species composition and functional characteristics may be able to detect them. Our study was designed to investigate legacy impacts of explosives contaminated soils in an experimental minefield on vegetative communities using ecological metrics. As hypothesized, species diversity and richness showed no change in the presence of explosive compounds while species composition provided clear separation of groups and functional trait dominance was also observed to change. Overall, presence of anthropogenic contaminates have led to community composition and functional shifts for vegetation after initial contamination. The responses in species composition and functional diversity/richness were a result of new tolerant species filling open niches in contaminated plots. More work is needed to confirm this in varied systems and in the presence of diverse contaminants.

Cite this paper

Via, S. , Zinnert, J. and Young, D. (2016) Legacy Effects of Explosive Contamination on Vegetative Communities. Open Journal of Ecology, 6, 496-508. doi: 10.4236/oje.2016.68047.


[1] Lambers, H., Chapin, F.S. and Pons, T.L. (2008) Plant Physiological Ecology. Springer New York, New York.
[2] Hansen, W.D., Romme, W.H., Ba, A. and Turner, M.G. (2016) Shifting Ecological Filters Mediate Postfire Expansion of Seedling Aspen (Populus tremuloides) in Yellowstone. Forest Ecology and Management, 362, 218-230.
[3] Via, S.M. and Zinnert, J.C. (2016) Impacts of Explosive Compounds on Vegetation: A Need for Community Scale Investigations. Environmental Pollution, 208, 495-505.
[4] Newman, M.C. and Clements, W. (2008) Biotic and Abiotic Factors That Regulate Communities. In: Newman, M.C. and Clements, W., Eds., Ecotoxicology. A Comprehensive Treatment, Taylor and Francis/CRC Press, Boca Raton, 379-407.
[5] Kim, T.N., Spiesman, B.J., Buchanan, A.L., Hakes, A.S., Halpern, S.L., Inouye, B.D. and Kilanowski, A.L. (2015) Selective Manipulation of a Non-Dominant Plant and Its Herbivores Affects an Old-Field Plant Community. Plant Ecology, 216, 1029-1045.
[6] Prach, K., Rehounková, K., Lencová, K., Jirová, A., Konvalinková, P., Mudrák, O., Student, V., Vaněcek, Z., Tichy, L., Petrík, P. and Smilauer, P. (2014) Vegetation Succession in Restoration of Disturbed Sites in Central Europe: The Direction of Succession and Species Richness across 19 Seres. Applied Vegetation Science, 17, 193-200.
[7] Woch, M.W., Kapusta, P. and Stefanowicz, A.M. (2016) Variation in Dry Grassland Communities along a Heavy Metals Gradient. Ecotoxicology, 25, 80-90.
[8] Brady, C.J. and Noske, R.A. (2010) Succession in Bird and Plant Communities over a 24-Year Chronosequence of Mine Rehabilitation in the Australian Monsoon Tropics. Restoration Ecology, 18, 855-864.
[9] Zhang, H. and Chu, L.M. (2011) Plant Community Structure, Soil Properties and Microbial Characteristics in Revegetated Quarries. Ecological Engineering, 37, 1104-1111.
[10] Pandey, B., Agrawal, M. and Singh, S. (2014) Coal Mining Activities Change Plant Community Structure Due to Air Pollution and Soil Degradation. Ecotoxicology, 23, 1474-1483.
[11] Woodwell, G.M. and Rebuck, A.L. (1967) Effects of Chronic Gamma Radiation on the Structure and Diversity of an Oak-Pine Forest. Ecological Monographs, 37, 53-69.
[12] Cardinale, B.J., Srivastava, D.S., Duffy, J.E., Wright, J.P., Downing, A.L., Sankaran, M. and Jouseau, C. (2006) Effects of Biodiversity on the Functioning of Trophic Groups and Ecosystems. Nature, 443, 989-992.
[13] Cadotte, M.W., Cavender-Bares, J., Tilman, D. and Oakley, T.H. (2009) Using Phylogenetic, Functional and Trait Diversity to Understand Patterns of Plant Community Productivity. PLoS ONE, 4, e5695.
[14] Flynn, D.F.B., Mirotchnick, N., Jain, M., Palmer, M.I. and Naeem, S. (2011) Functional and Phylogenetic Diversity as Predictors of Biodiversity-Ecosystem Function Relationships. Ecology, 92, 1573-1581.
[15] Feng, G., Svenning, J.C., Mi, X., Jia, Q., Rao, M., Ren, H., Bebber, D.P. and Ma, K. (2014) Anthropogenic Disturbance Shapes Phylogenetic and Functional Tree Community Structure in a Subtropical Forest. Forest Ecology and Management, 313, 188-198.
[16] Klein, W. and Scheunert, I. (1982) Bound Pesticide Residues in Soil, Plants and Food with Particular Emphasis on the Application of Nuclear Techniques. International Symposium on Agrochemicals: Fate in Food and the Environment Using Isotope Techniques, Rome, 7-11 June 1982, 177-205.
[17] Rylott, E.L. and Bruce, N.C. (2009) Plants Disarm Soil: Engineering Plants for the Phytoremediation of Explosives. Trends in Biotechnology, 27, 73-81.
[18] Russell, D.L. (2011) Costs of Remedial Activities. In: Russell, D.L., Ed., Remediation Manual for Contaminated Sites, CRC Press, Boca Raton, 145-158.
[19] Ansari, A.A., Gill, S.S., Gill, R., Lanza, G.R. and Newman, L. (Eds.) (2015) Phytoremediation: Management of Environmental Contaminants. Vol. 1, Springer International Publishing, Gewerbestrasse.
[20] Eschtruth, A.K. and Battles, J.J. (2014) Ephemeral Disturbances Have Long-Lasting Impacts on Forest Invasion Dynamics. Ecology, 95, 1770-1779.
[21] Holl, K.D. (2002) Long-Term Vegetation Recovery on Reclaimed Coal Surface Mines in the Eastern USA. Journal of Applied Ecology, 39, 960-970.
[22] Travis, E.R., Bruce, N.C. and Rosser, S.J. (2008) Microbial and Plant Ecology of a Long-Term TNT-Contaminated Site. Environmental Pollution (Barking, Essex: 1987), 153, 119-126.
[23] Huopalainen, M., Tuittila, E., Vanha-Majamaa, I., Nousiainen, J. and Vasander, H. (2000) The Potential of Soil Seed Banks for Revegetation of Bogs in SW Finland after Long-Term Aerial Pollution. Annales Botanici Fennici, 37, 1-9.
[24] Huopalainen, M., Tuittila, E.S., Vanha-Majamaa, I., Nousiainen, H., Laine, J. and Vasander, H. (2001) Effects of Long-Term Aerial Pollution on Soil Seed Banks in Drained Pine Mires in Southern Finland. Water, Air, and Soil Pollution, 125, 69-79.
[25] Walsh, M.R., Walsh, M.E., Ramsey, C.A., Thiboutot, S. and Ampleman, G. (2015) Energetics Residues Deposition from Training with Large Caliber Weapon Systems. European Conference of Defence and the Environment Conference Proceedings, 100-109.
[26] Cunningham, S.D., Berti, W.R. and Huang, J.W. (1995) Phytoremediation of Contaminated Soils. Trends in Biotechnology, 13, 393-397.
[27] Pilon-Smits, E. (2005) Phytoremediation. Annual Review of Plant Biology, 56, 15-39.
[28] Pilon-Smits, E.A. and Freeman, J.L. (2006) Environmental Cleanup Using Plants: Biotechnological Advances and Ecological Considerations. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, 4, 203-210.
[29] Wenzel, W.W. (2009) Rhizosphere Processes and Management in Plant-Assisted Bioremediation (Phytoremediation) of Soils. Plant and Soil, 321, 385-408.
[30] Zhuang, J., Yu, H.Q., Henry, T.B. and Sayler, G.S. (2015) Fate and Toxic Effects of Environmental Stressors: Environmental Control. Ecotoxicology, 24, 2043-2048.
[31] Flynn, D.F.B., Gogol-Prokurat, M., Nogeire, T., Molinari, N., Richers, B.T., Lin, B.B., Simpson, N., Mayfield, M.M. and DeClerck, F. (2009) Loss of Functional Diversity under Land Use Intensification across Multiple Taxa. Ecology Letters, 12, 22-33.
[32] Vandewalle, M., Purschke, O., de Bello, F., Reitalu, T., Prentice, H.C., Lavorel, S., Johansson, L.J. and Sykes, M.T. (2014) Functional Responses of Plant Communities to Management, Landscape and Historical Factors in Semi-Natural Grasslands. Journal of Vegetation Science, 25, 750-759.
[33] Kusumoto, B., Shiono, T., Miyoshi, M., Maeshiro, R., Fujii, S.J., Kuuluvainen, T. and Kubota, Y. (2015) Functional Response of Plant Communities to Clearcutting: Management Impacts Differ between Forest Vegetation Zones. Journal of Applied Ecology, 52, 171-180.
[34] Bond, B.J. (2000) Age-Related Changes in Photosynthesis of Woody Plants. Trends in Plant Science, 5, 349-353.
[35] Donaldson, J.R., Stevens, M.T., Barnhill, H.R. and Lindroth, R.L. (2006) Age-Related Shifts in Leaf Chemistry of Clonal Aspen (Populus tremuloides). Journal of Chemical Ecology, 32, 1415-1429.
[36] Juvany, M., Müller, M. and Munné-Bosch, S. (2013) Plant Age-Related Changes in Cytokinins, Leaf Growth and Pigment Accumulation in Juvenile Mastic Trees. Environmental and Experimental Botany, 87, 10-18.
[37] Collins, C., Fryer, M. and Grosso, A. (2006) Plant Uptake of Non-Ionic Organic Chemicals. Environmental Science and Technology, 40, 45-52.
[38] Verkleij, J.A.C., Golan-Goldhirsh, A., Antosiewisz, D.M., Schwitzguébel, J.-P. and Schroder, P. (2009) Dualities in Plant Tolerance to Pollutants and Their Uptake and Translocation to the Upper Plant Parts. Environmental and Experimental Botany, 67, 10-22.
[39] Hawari, J., Halasz, A., Sheremata, T., Beaudet, S., Groom, C., Paquet, L., Rhofir, C., Ampleman, G. and Thiboutot, S. (2000) Characterization of Metabolites during Biodegradation of Hexahydro-1,3,5-trinitro-1,3,5-triazine (RDX) with Municipal Anaerobic Sludge. Applied and Environmental Microbiology, 66, 2652-2657.
[40] Khatisashvili, G., Gordeziani, M., Adamia, G., Kvesitadze, E., Sadunishvili, T. and Kvesitadze, G. (2009) Higher Plants Ability to Assimilate Explosives. World Academy of Science, Engineering and Technology, 33, 256-270.
[41] Pichtel, J. (2012) Distribution and Fate of Military Explosives and Propellants in Soil: A Review. Applied and Environmental Soil Science, 2012, Article ID: 617236.
[42] ORNL (Oak Ridge National Laboratory) (1999) Reducing the Threat of War and Terrorism. Oak Ridge National Laboratory Review, 32, 9-11.
[43] Fischer, R., Burlage, R., John, D. and Maston, M. (2000) Using Flourescence Imagery and Microbes for Ordnance and Mine Detection. Army AL&T, 10-12.
[44] USGS (United States Geological Survey) (2016) Web Soil Survey (WSS).
[45] Oxley, J.C., Smith, J.L., Resende, E. and Pearce, E. (2003) Quantification and Aging of the Post-Blast Residue of TNT Landmines. Journal of Forensic Science, 48, 742-753.
[46] Cardona, L., Jiménes, J. and Vanegas, N. (2014) Landmine Detection Techniques to Face the Demining Problem in Amtioquia. DYNA, 81, 115-125.
[47] McCune, B. and Grace, J.B. (2002) Analysis of Ecological Communities. MjM Software Design, Gleneden Beach.
[48] Morris, E.K., Caruso, T., Buscot, F., Fischer, M., Hancock, C., Maier, T.S., Meiners, T., Müller, C., Obermaier, E., Prati, D. and Socher, S.A. (2014) Choosing and Using Diversity Indices: Insights for Ecological Applications from the German Biodiversity Exploratories. Ecology and Evolution, 4, 3514-3524.
[49] Radford, A.E., Ahles, H.E. and Bell, C.R. (2010) Manual of the Vascular Flora of the Carolinas. University of North Carolina Press, Ithaca.
[50] Uva, R., Neal, J. and DiTomaso, J. (1997) Weeds of the Northeast. Cornell University Press, Ithaca.
[51] Bryson, C. and DeFelice, M. (Eds.) (2009) Weeds of the South. The University of Georgia Press, Athens.
[52] Porcher, R. and Rayner, D. (2001) A Guide to the Wildflowers of South Carolina. University of South Carolina, Colombia.
[53] Del Tredici, P. (2010) Wild Urban Plants of the Northeast: A Field Guide. A Comstock Book of Cornell University Press, Ithaca.
[54] Garnier, E., Cortez, J., Billes, G., Navas, M.L., Roumet, C., Debussche, M., Laurent, G., Blanchard, A., Aubry, D., Bellmann, A., Neill, C. and Toussaint, J.P. (2004) Plant Functional Markers Capture Ecosystem Properties during Secondary Succession. Ecology, 85, 2630-2637.
[55] Laliberté, E., Legendre, P. and Shipley, B. (2014) FD: Measuring Functional Diversity from Multiple Traits, and Other Tools for Functional Ecology. R Package Version 1.0-12.
[56] Ricotta, C. and Moretti, M. (2011) CWM and Rao’s Quadratic Diversity: A Unified Framework for Functional Ecology. Oecologia, 167, 181-188.
[57] Bobbink, R. (1991) Effects of Nutrient Enrichment in Dutch Chalk Grassland. Journal of Applied Ecology, 28, 28-41.
[58] Barbaro, L., Dutoit, T., Anthelmea, F. and Corcket, E. (2004) Respective Influence of Habitat Conditions and Management Regimes on Pre-Alpine Calcareous Grasslands. Journal of Environmental Management, 72, 261-275.
[59] Questad, E.J. and Foster, B.L. (2007) Vole Disturbances and Plant Diversity in a Grassland Metacommunity. Oecologia, 153, 341-351.
[60] Stevens, C.J., Thompson, K., Grime, J.P., Long, C.J. and Gowing, D.J.G. (2010) Contribution of Acidification and Eutrophication to Declines in Species Richness of Calcifuge Grasslands along a Gradient of Atmospheric Nitrogen Deposition. Functional Ecology, 24, 478-484.
[61] Kurek, P., Kapusta, P. and Holeksa, J. (2014) Burrowing by Badgers (Meles meles) and Foxes (Vulpes vulpes) Changes Soil Conditions and Vegetation in a European Temperate Forest. Ecological Research, 29, 1-11.
[62] Schnoor, J.L., Light, L.A., McCutcheon, S.C., Wolfe, N.L. and Carreia, L.H. (1995) Phytoremediation of Organic and Nutrient Contaminants. Environmental Science & Technology, 29, 318A-323A.
[63] Quist, M.C., Fay, P.A., Guy, C.S., Knapp, A.K. and Rubenstein, B.N. (2003) Military Training Effects on Terrestrial and Aquatic Communities on a Grassland Military Installation. Ecological Applications, 13, 432-442.
[64] Winfield, L.E., Rodger, J.H. and D’surney, S.J. (2004) The Responses of Selected Terrestrial Plants to Short (< 12 Days) and Long Term (2, 4 and 6 Weeks) Hexahydro-1,3,5-trinitro-1,3,5-triazine (RDX) Exposure. Part I: Growth and Developmental Effects. Ecotoxicology, 13, 335-347.
[65] Panz, K., Miksch, K. and Sójka, T. (2013) Synergetic Toxic Effect of an Explosive Material Mixture in Soil. Bulletin of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology, 91, 555-559.
[66] Zhang, H. and Chu, L.M. (2013) Changes in Soil Seed Bank Composition during Early Succession of Rehabilitated Quarries. Ecological Engineering, 55, 43-50.
[67] Best, E.P., Smith, T., Hagen, F.L., Dawson, J. and Torrey, A.J. (2007) Candidate Herbaceous Plants for Phytoremediation of Energetics on Ranges.
[68] Peterson, M.M., Horst, G.L., Shea, P.J. and Comfort, S.D. (1998) Germination and Seedling Development of Switchgrass and Smooth Bromegrass Exposed to 2,4,6-Trinitrotoluene. Environmental Pollution, 99, 53-59.
[69] Via, S.M. and Zinnert, J.C. (2016) Multiple Metrics Quantify and Differentiate Responses of Vegetation to Composition B. International Journal of Phytoremediation. (In Press)
[70] Via, S.M., Zinnert, J.C., Butler, A.D. and Young, D.R. (2014) Comparative Physiological Responses of Morella cerifera to RDX, TNT, and Composition B Contaminated Soils. Environmental and Experimental Botany, 99, 67-74.
[71] Via, S.M., Zinnert, J.C. and Young, D.R. (2015) Differential Effects of Two Explosive Compounds on Seed Germination and Seedling Morphology of a Woody Shrub, Morella cerifera. Ecotoxicology (London, England), 24, 194-201.
[72] Zinnert, J.C., Via, S.M. and Young, D.R. (2013) Distinguishing Natural from Anthropogenic Stress in Plants: Physiology, Fluorescence and Hyperspectral Reflectance. Plant and Soil, 366, 133-141.
[73] Villéger, S., Mason, N.W.H. and Mouillot, D. (2008) New Multidimensional Functional Diversity Indices for a Multifaceted Framework in Functional Ecology. Ecology, 89, 2290-2301.
[74] Vile, D., Shipley, B. and Garnier, E. (2006) Ecosystem Productivity Can Be Predicted from Potential Relative Growth Rate and Species Abundance. Ecology Letters, 9, 1061-1067.
[75] Mokany, K., Ash, J. and Roxburgh, S. (2008) Functional Identity Is More Important than Diversity in Influencing Ecosystem Processes in a Temperate Native Grassland. Journal of Ecology, 96, 884-893.
[76] Heffernan, J.B., Soranno, P.A., Angilletta, M.J., Buckley, L.B., Gruner, D.S., Keitt, T.H., Kellner, J.R., Kominoski, J.S., Rocha, A.V., Xiao, J. and Harms, T.K. (2014) Macrosystems Ecology: Understanding Ecological Patterns and Processes at Continental Scales. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, 12, 5-14.
[77] Ding, Y., Zang, R.G., Letcher, S.G., Liu, S.R. and He, F.L. (2012) Disturbance Regime Changes the Trait Distribution, Phylogenetic Structure and Community Assembly of Tropical Rain Forests. Oikos, 121, 1263-1270.
[78] Letcher, S.G. (2010) Phylogenetic Structure of Angiosperm Communities during Tropical Forest Succession. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London: Biological Sciences, 277, 97-104.
[79] Letcher, S.G., Chazdon, R.L., Andrade, A.C.S., Bongers, F., Breugel, M., Finegan, B., Laurance, S.G., Mesquita, R.C.G., Martínez-Ramos, M. and Williamson, G.B. (2012) Phylogenetic Community Structure during Succession: Evidence from Three Neotropical Forest Sites. Perspectives in Plant Ecology, Evolution and Systematics, 14, 79-87.
[80] Norden, N., Letcher, S.G., Boukili, V., Swenson, N.G. and Chazdon, R. (2012) Demographic Drivers of Successional Changes in Phylogenetic Structure across Life-History Stages in Plant Communities. Ecology, 93, S70-S82.
[81] Whitfield, J. (2002) Ecology: Neutrality versus the Niche. Nature, 417, 480-481.
[82] Rehounková, K. and Prach, K. (2010) Life-History Traits and Habitat Preferences of Colonizing Plant Species in Long-Term Spontaneous Succession in Abandoned Gravel-Sand Pits. Basic and Applied Ecology, 11, 45-53.
[83] Mouchet, M.A., Villéger, S., Mason, N.W.H. and Mouillot, D. (2010) Functional Diversity Measures: An Overview of Their Redundancy and Their Ability to Discriminate Community Assembly Rules. Functional Ecology, 24, 867-876.
[84] Mason, N.W.H., Richardson, S.J., Peltzer, D.A., de Bello, F., Wardle, D.A. and Allen, R.B. (2012) Changes in Coexistence Mechanisms along a Long-Term Soil Chronosequence Revealed by Functional Trait Diversity. Journal of Ecology, 100, 678-689.
[85] Spasojevic, M.J. and Suding, K.N. (2012) Inferring Community Assembly Mechanisms from Functional Diversity Patterns: The Importance of Multiple Assembly Processes. Journal of Ecology, 100, 652-661.
[86] Petchey, O.L., Hector, A. and Gaston, K.J. (2004) How Do Different Measures of Functional Diversity Perform? Ecology, 85, 847-857.
[87] Mason, N.W.H., De Bello, F., Mouillot, D., Pavoine, S. and Dray, S. (2013) A Guide for Using Functional Diversity Indices to Reveal Changes in Assembly Processes along Ecological Gradients. Journal of Vegetation Science, 24, 794-806.
[88] Mouillot, D., Graham, N.A.J., Villéger, S., Mason, N.W.H. and Bellwood, D.R. (2013) A Functional Approach Reveals Community Responses to Disturbances. Trends in Ecology and Evolution, 28, 167-177.

comments powered by Disqus

Copyright © 2017 by authors and Scientific Research Publishing Inc.

Creative Commons License

This work and the related PDF file are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.