Ana Anđelković1, Milica Živković2, Dušanka Cvijanović2, Maja Novković2,Slađana Popović3, Dragana Marisavljević1, Danijela Pavlović1 and Snežana Radulović2
1Institute for Plant Protection and Environment, Teodora Drajzera 9, 11040 Belgrade, Serbia
2University of Novi Sad, Faculty of Sciences, Department of Biology and Ecology, Trg Dositeja Obradovića 3, 21000 Novi Sad, Serbia
3University of Belgrade, Scientific Institution, Institute of Chemistry, Technology and Metallurgy, National Institute, Center for Ecology and Technoeconomics, Njegoševa 12, 11000 Belgrade, Serbia
River hydromorphology and the dynamics of anthropogenic activities are two crucial factors affecting the vegetation of riparian zones and increasing the potential for alien plant invasions. Given the vulnerability of riparian areas to the colonization of invasive alien species (IAS), our aim was to determine which parameters of hydromorphology are linked with the presence and abundance of IAS in river and canal riparian areas of Serbia. Field research was conducted over four years at 250 riparian field sites, along the course of 39 rivers and six canals in Serbia. The location of the field sites and relevant hydromorphological parameters were determined and scored following the standard River Habitat Survey methodology and field protocol, while the cover and abundance of the vegetation was scored on site, in accordance with the van der Maarel scale. The influence of these hydromorphological parameters on the analysed subset of IAS, grouped by their life form and status of invasiveness, was illustrated using principal component analysis (PCA) in Canoco 5.0. Of the analysed hydromorphological parameters, the presence of a natural berm in the field site and over-deepening of the river channel were shown to be positively correlated with the cover and abundance of potentially invasive species, while the group of highly invasive species was positively correlated with the presence of dams. The PCA analysis of the cover/abundance of IAS grouped by their life form and selected hydromorphological parameters revealed a positive correlation between weirs and the cover/abundance of phanerophytes. Similarly, the cover and abundance of phanerophyte, chemicryptophyte and geophyte IAS were positively correlated with the presence of bridges in the vicinity of the field site and the natural profile of the riverbank. Furthermore, bank profile modifications were shown to be negatively correlated with all the recorded IAS groups, except for nanophanerophytes and lianas.