Invasive plants threaten biodiversity and impact natural ecosystems through both well-studied direct effects and lesser known indirect effects. We examined one indirect effect: whether the presence of an invasive exotic shrub, Lonicera maackii, changes seed predation of native shrub species by providing dense cover that might harbor shared seed predators (i.e., apparent competition). Our study quantified removal of seeds of exotic L. maackii and native plant species by granivores in invaded and uninvaded plots during winter and spring trials. We found that the presence of L. maackii did not change removal of native seeds in either season and that rodent granivores contributed significantly to seed removal compared to arthropods. Removal of L. maackii seeds by rodent seed predators was significantly greater than the native species studied in the spring (Cornus drummondii), suggesting that rodents may have negative effects on L. maackii in some ecological contexts by consuming seeds. Our findings highlight the need for future research to understand the context-specific mechanisms that determine the nature and strength of indirect effects in biological invasions.
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